Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has predicted that digital economy will surpass all other sources as revenue earner for the state.
Engineer Sule stated this while presenting a speech on the occasion of this year’s Digital Nigeria Day, which held at the Conference Hall, Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, on Friday.
According to the governor, the world is gradually moving away from minerals driven economy, to a knowledge driven economy.
He pointed out that even though Nasarawa State is known as the Home of Solid Minerals, it should be borne in mind that minerals today are no longer as important as before, with the world now tilting towards harvesting the potentials of youths especially in the area of digital economy.
“I have no doubt that digital economy is going to overtake most of the other sources of revenue that we have in the state,” the governor said.
Engineer Sule used the opportunity to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Digital Economy, Professor Ali Isa Pantami, as well as the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, for taking Nigeria to a different level, where digital economy in 2020, contributed more to the GDP of the country even more than oil.
The governor equally commended the minister for approving free internet access at the Isa Mustapha Agwai Polytechnic Lafia, in recognition of the efforts of his administration in the area of ICT development.
He added that, even though his administration is yet to take a critical look at the contribution of ICT to the revenue of the state, already the gains are there for all to see.
For the first time, Nasarawa State has been selected as a venue to conduct aptitude test for 3000 applicants out of the 10000 approved by the President that will be recruited into the police.
The governor said this was made possible only because of the availability of the Computer Based Test Centres set up by his administration, with Nasarawa State now test centre for parts of North Central geopolitical zone and Abuja.
Commenting on the ICT hub to be established by his administration, Engineer Sule said he was motivated to set up the hub after his visit to the headquarters of the ICT giant, Microsoft, in Seattle, United States.
Engineer Sule said he has a vision to see at least 5 youths from Nasarawa State work with Microsoft.
“In the past two years, the efforts I have seen from the young people, I have no doubt in my mind that this is not just a wish. I think it’s going to be a reality that from Nasarawa State, we are going to have people working at Microsoft and the Silicon Valley,” he stated.
The governor promised to sustain partnership with higher institutions of learning in the state towards developing ICT.
In her good will message, Executive Director Nasarawa State University Centre for Cyberspace Studies, Dr. Uche Mbanaso said the university has an assemblage of a multidisciplinary scholars with distinguished research experiences providing independent and authoritative view points on matters of cyberspace security.
She stressed that they are jointly working to position the university as a world class cyberspace security research centre and for enhanced teaching and learning that matches the evolving society, to which end she sought further collaboration with the state government.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Director General Bureau for Information Communication Technology (BITC), Shehu Ibrahim described ICT as the biggest advancement of the 21st century, which is key to progress and economic development.
According to the DG, the use of digital technologies has revolutionised the way things are done, mode of communication and ways economies grow. ICT has now been recognized as key to success.
He stressed that Nasarawa State is among the 3 states in Nigeria to have celebrated the day in the manner that appraises the impacts and far reaching reforms associated with the information communication technology.
Ibrahim noted that, in Nasarawa State, the present administration has keyed into ensuring growth and sustainability through the creation of an ICT policy, an e-government master plan, as well as an ICT bill that has passed first reading that will provide needed legislature for ICT to effectively function.
He listed some of the achievements recorded in the ICT sector in the state to include, use of central billing system that saw to the improvement of internally generated revenue by over 60 percent, partnerships with agencies such as the National Identity Card Management Agency (NIMC), with enrollment centres for NIN, as well as JAMB that donated 825 computers to the CBT centres.
Also speaking, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information Tourism and Culture, Barrister Yusuf Musa, lauded Engineer Sule for giving the approval for collaboration with the NIMC, that will make Nasarawa State the first state in the country to facilitate the enrollment of students for the National Identification Numbers (NIN) thas has become mandatory for any national examination.
The Nigeria Digital Day, has been designated to promote the development of digital economy in the country, with this year’s theme being “Digital Transformation: A Path to Sustainable Digital Economy”.