By Alice Ekpang
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, and the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, yesterday, reached an agreement to set up a six-man joint committee aimed at fostering collaboration in the development of local content in information and communications technology, oil and gas industry and related sectors.
In a statement in Abuja, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote explained that the operations of the oil and gas industry rely heavily on artificial intelligence and information technology, to such an extent that the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) platform might in the coming years be navigated remotely, without human occupants onboard while operating 150 kilometers offshore.
Wabote listed possible areas of collaboration to include the promotion of in-country production of motherboards, electronic components, system integration, and assembly. Other areas of collaboration, according to him, include the mentoring of the beneficiaries of NCDMB-sponsored GSM repair training, development of mobile applications and personal computer applications, as well as the optimization of the use of locally developed virtual meeting platforms.
He said: “There is a lot of opportunities to synergize and support what our respective agencies are doing. We have similar collaboration with NIMASA, Immigration Service, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, and other agencies and we undertake common projects.”
Also speaking, Director-General of NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi described the planned inter-agency team as an excellent idea, adding that NITDA shares information with several ministries, departments, and agencies and operates with a flexible system.
He stated that now was the perfect time for collaboration between NCDMB and NITDA that share similarities in their mandates, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic had compelled several sectors of the economy to digitize their operations.
He identified capacity building as another possible area for collaboration between NCDMB and NITDA, indicating that personnel from about 100 government agencies were undergoing training currently at NITDA’s e-government centre in digital transformation.
Abdullahi recalled that NITDA partnered with NCDMB in training 1,000 youths in Yobe State on GSM repairs, while he emphasized the need for further mentorship of the trainees till they get to the market.
“We would partner and develop a monitoring and evaluation portal that can track the number of people we have trained and mentored and the jobs they create. This is line with Mr. President’s pledge to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years,” he noted.
Prior to this time, the NCDMB said it had been providing immense support for the local ICT industry through the procurement of locally assembled personal computers, utilisation of MainOne for internet services, and in-house development of staff service applications.
Other NCDMB interventions in ICT, the board said, included enforcing compliance with provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development, NOGICD, Act to ensure local service companies are engaged in all IT related job in the oil and gas industry, sponsoring the development of software packages under research and development intervention, training of youths on GSM repairs and establishment of ICT centers in selected secondary schools across the country.