The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) and the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), have showered encomiums on Enugu State Governor, His Excellency, Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for the administration’s immense contributions towards empowering fifty Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) with digital tools.
Dr. Pantami speaking at the closing ceremony of the 5-Day digital skills training for the PLWDs in Enugu State, said that theme of the training “IT and Entrepreneurship” aptly captures a number of the pillars of the Ministry’s National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria.
The document was unveiled and launched by Mr President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 28th of November, 2019. The Policy contains 8 pillars. The pillars on Digital Literacy and Skills (Pillar #2), Digital Society and Emerging Technologies (Pillar #5) and Digital Society and Emerging Technologies (Pillar #7).
The Minister said, “I wish to extend our special gratitude to His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Governor of Enugu, for his support towards the successful hosting of this training. I also want to commend the Director-General and CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)- Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, along with the Board and Management Team of the Agency for making the effort to reach out to the unreached people in the society by bringing this empowerment programme for PLWD to the South-East region of the country”.
“Pillar #7 also addresses the issue of Digital Inclusion which is the main thrust of this training. Promoting Digital Entrepreneurship among PLWDs constitutes an important part of the Policy which treats entrepreneurship as a key component of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that strives to leave no one behind.
“Around 785 million (between 19% and 25%) of the world population of 15 years and older are People Living With Disabilities (PWDs), as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018.
“Therefore, there is a deliberate policy that seeks to improve labour market opportunities, and support social inclusion for PLWDs as part of the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria. The essence of this programme is to assert that Disability should not be an impediment to digital and economic inclusion/success”.
He said that with the training programme, the participants would have acquired hands-on skills that can help you to operate Small Scale IT business such as Business Centre Services, Document Editing Services, Internet Café, and Computer Training Services to mention but a few. “I therefore urge you to extend the knowledge acquired from this training to others within and beyond your clusters so as to facilitate digital inclusion and bridge the digital divide amongst PLWDs”, Dr Pantami said.
Earlier, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said that nurturing entrepreneurship skills and creating desired social and economic outcomes by facilitating innovative, technology-driven economic growth, through the use of ICT among people with special needs are on top of NITDA’s agenda.
The NITDA boss, who was represented by the Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy department of the Agency, Dr Agu Collins Agu, noted that the aim of empowering persons with special needs is for them to acquire ICT skills, digital literacy and its applications and prop up their relationship with people and the world at large.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi represented by his Special Assistant on ICT, Hon. Nnaemeka Ani, thanked the Honourable Minister and the Director General of NITDA, for the successful completion of the specialised training for PLWDs.
The Governor said that Enugu State Government will sustain this well-articulated programme, designed to afford Persons Living with Disabilities the opportunity to make meaningful contributions by building their Digital Literacy Skills and bridging the Digital Divide within and beyond the PLWDs Clusters in line with the philosophy of digital inclusion.
Meanwhile, apart from the laptop computer presented to the 50 participants, Enugu State Government also presented customized laptop rucksack bags, Internet dongles and cash gifts to each of them for logistics.
To this end, Governor Ugwuanyi implored all the participants to make the best use of the opportunity to better their socio-economic wellbeing through the effective utilization of the provided tools.
On his part, Hon. Nnaemeka Ani said that it is noteworthy that capacity development programs in emerging technologies such as IoT, AI, Robotics etc., will be further strengthened in the state through the adoption of education technology tools such as the Unity Board; facilitating the development of industry sought-after & marketable skills ensuring better preparedness to enter the workforce of the future.
“I will once more reiterate that Enugu State Government is willing to deepen the partnership with NITDA through provision of the necessary infrastructure for the reactivation of NITDA’s South-East Zonal Office”, he said.
He added that Enugu State is open to collaborations with the private sector and various Parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in harnessing the full potentials of the Free Trade Zone in Enugu State to help achieve President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“It is my hope that the National Information Technology Development Agency will bring further initiatives and interventions to Enugu State to drive the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy”, Hon. Ani said.
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