…as ICT Varsity takes off September
By: Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu has disclosed the readiness of the Federal Government to build a $1 billion dollar ICT company in the country, as part of efforts in diversifying the Nigerian economy and in recognising the role of information technology.
The minister made the disclosure during the weekend in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, while delivering a lecture paper at the 2017 faculty lecture of the University of Ibadan.
Speaking on the theme: “Jobs Nowhere But Jobs Everywhere: ICT To The Rescue Of Unemployed Graduates And Youths,” the minister further pointed out that the Federal Government has put in top gear the plan to build a national ICT park and exhibition centre in Abuja as part of the preparations for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Shittu, who recalled President Muhammadu Buhari’s state of the nation address in 2015, where the President identified ICT as a crucial pillar to leverage on job and wealth creation as well as on economy, disclosed that government was prepared to use ICT to foster youth empowerment and development by way of giving of grants, loans, sponsorship and financial support, among other innovative schemes to lucrative business ideas.
The minister, while bemoaning the level of youth graduates unemployment, blamed it on several factors, which he stated have contributed to the failure to provide students the appropriate skills to make them fit-for-purpose(employable) in the 21st century.
While identifying some of the problems responsible for youth unemployment which are high population and deficient school curricula, Mr. Shittu stated that since his assumption of office, he has come up with a new ICT roadmap after series of consultations with stakeholders and academia in the industry, with a view to introduce new dynamics in the ICT value change.
According to him, the ministry has launched several initiatives and regulatory frameworks to help in achieving inclusive growth in the ICT sector and to create job opportunities.
“By the grace of God, we should have established in Nigeria an ICT university which will be the first of its kind in Africa before the next quarter with the sole purpose of providing training environment and training facilities to provide the local and global ICT industry with competent and skilled manpower in various sub sectors of the ICT sector.”
“We already have the Digital Bridge Institute which is for short term training programmes, in six locations across the country and we will transform this institute into ICT University of Nigeria.”
“This unique would by God’s grace take off effectively in September 2017 and would be run as a Public Private Partnership with the best business entrepreneurship models,” the minister disclosed.
He added that the ICT university was coming at an auspicious time the country’s economy was recovering from recession, noting that it has become imperative to come up with new policies to stimulate economic growth, while creating job opportunities in the process.
He further hinted that government would provide much needed infrastructure and favourable policies that would create an enabling environment for young people to innovate unhindered in the various start-up and innovative centres across the country.
The minister, however, posited that the government wanted a strong economy that could help in creating jobs and wealth in order to increase the GDP and help fight poverty completely.