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The contribution of the country’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased by almost one per cent in the first quarter of the year ,the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA ), Kashifu Abdullahi, has said.

The director-general made this known while delivering his remarks at the international webinar organised by the Information Technology (Industry) Association Nigeria (ITAN), Kano and Abuja Chapters, on Tuesday.

He noted that despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic on all economies of the world, the country’s ICT sector grew to 14 per cent compared to growth of 13.12 per cent in the previous quarter as people relied more on digital platforms during the lockdown.

Mr Abdullahi, who was represented by the Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Vincent Olatunji, said NITDA, as the agency with the responsibility to oversee the IT sector, is at the forefront of creating initiatives and schemes to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s ICT sector, particularly the startup ecosystem.

He noted that NITDA using its two special purpose vehicles – The Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) and the Office for Nigerian Content in ICT (ONC) – is working hard at achieving its mandates of fostering the growth of technology startup ecosystem and ensuring patronage of local content in ICT.

Some of these initiatives, according to the DG, include Work Permit for Technology Startups during lockdown; The Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge where three startups with the following solutions emerged winners: locally made ventilator, decontamination chamber and e-Health monitor Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme (TIESS) which have the following schemes; Incubation Programme; Technical Capacity Building, Internship Programme, Hub Upscaling.

He said the schemes are designed to target various aspect for the ecosystems to achieve maximum positive effect on the ICT ecosystem. Another programme in the pipeline is Startup Workspace Voucher programme aimed at supporting young startups to overcome their financial challenges.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: NITDA DG tasks ICT Startups on disruptive technologies

While thanking the organisers of the webinar, Mr Abdullahi added that, “We at NITDA believe that with strategic partnership and collaborations with stakeholders, we can build a new Nigeria with a robust digital economy.”

Participants at the event include, the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, and the Minister of the FCT, Musa Bello, who co-hosted the webinar.

Other international participants and presenters at the webinar are: Ahmad Hashim, CEO of Pen Test Digital Services; Titus Olowokere, based in Atlanta, Georgia; Amado Espinosa, U.S.-based professor Sou Mita Dutta of Cornell University and Abdullah Adamu, Vice Chancellor of the National Open University, Abuja.

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