The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, said that Nigeria needed to reboot its ecosystem with digital technology to survive the present regressive economic outlook caused by COVID-19.
The minister said this during the 2nd edition of the Re-Ignite Public Affairs National Dialogue Webinar Series held in partnership with Businessday Media.
The theme of the virtual event was “Nigeria at 60 – Rebooting Nigeria’s Economy the Way Forward”.
Pantami, who was represented by the Technical Assistant on Info-Tech, Dr Olufemi Adeluyi, said that since the global lockdown earlier in the year, digital commerce has become the most efficient growth area in the country.
He said that digital commerce provided the world with new ways of doing things as encapsulated in the ‘New Normal’ pseudo phrase.
The minister said that the National digital economy policy and strategy which was hinged on eight pillars would help move the Nigerian economy forward.
“The eight pillars include developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services development and promotion.
“Others are soft infrastructure, digital society and emerging technology, indigenous content development and adoption pillar,” he said.
Pantami added that the country’s economy needed a soft rebooting which could only be achieved through an economy driven by digital technology.
Mrs Adia Sowho, Managing Director, Mines Nigeria, a machine learning-powered digital credit platform, said there was a challenge maintaining a tech business in Nigeria with rising cost and revenue under pressure from devaluation and regulation.
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She said that the telecommunications sector in Nigeria was struggling in spite of the perception that they were making money.
Sowho urged the government to exploit the digital space in carrying out its major activities to boost the economy.
“The country also needs regulations that will make it easy to do digital-related businesses and survive,” she said.
Also, Mr Obi Asika, Chief Executive Officer of Dragon Africa and Storm Productions said that there was a need for connected thinking and collaboration in the Nigerian technology sector.
Asika also noted that collaboration between the public and private sector would aid progress in the Nigerian technology sector.
“The key to a robust digital economy in Nigeria includes education, startup ecosystem, digital infrastructure and platforms, among others,” he said
Mr Najim Animashaun, a Policy Analyst and General Counsel at Gulf of Guinea Consulting, said that the Nigerian Government needed to capitalise on the digital economy to derive positive results.
“There is need for government to diversify the economy to favour the ICT sector more because of its promises towards improving the Nigerian economy,” Animashaun said.
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The firm provides services that help to improve governance and enhance the relationship between the business community and the different arms of government and its agencies.