Monday, January 14, 2019

FG seeks private sector support in establishing ICT park - The Punch

Feyisayo Popoola

The Federal Government has sought the cooperation of the private sector in establishing a national information and communication technology park.

The Minister of Communications, Dr Adebayo Shittu, while speaking at the Business Roundtable for the Financing of the National ICT Park in Lagos, noted that the ICT park would create a platform for the acquisition of ICT knowledge, appropriate initiatives, incubating tech ideas into viable startups, research and development, testing and certifications of ICT solutions in Nigeria.

He described the ICT/telecommunications industry as key to the economy and an avenue for youths and consumers to unlock the potential in the sector through policies and programmes capable of boosting the economy in collaboration with stakeholders in the ICT sector.

Shittu stated that the objective of the meeting was to appraise the major stakeholders and the private companies operating in the ICT ecosystem of the ministry’s plan to establish the ICT park and to solicit their cooperation and support towards its success and execution.

He said, “ICT park projects are capital intensive, hence the need for industry stakeholders to partner the Ministry of Communications to establish the project in order to bridge the practical skills gap that exists between the academia and the industry.

“The collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Abuja Technology Village led to a 6344square metre of commercial land earmarked for the establishment of a National ICT Park within the free trade zone owned and operated by the ATV.

“The project is part of government’s preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is predicted to happen globally in the near future.”

Shittu noted that the establishment of the centre would encourage investment in the ICT sector and complement the proposed ICT university, which would produce the required skilled manpower for Africa to partake in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“ICTs are essential in driving entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth as well as building strong interface between the academia and the industry,” he said.

He added that industry participation and synergy on the project would be of immense benefit to the ICT ecosystem, consisting of the student community, the academia, and the industry.

Shittu reiterated that an adequate pool of qualified manpower to sustain the growth of the ICT sector was needed in the country, adding that the government and the private sector were implementing a series of training programmes to disseminate ICT literacy and usage in all spheres of activities across the country.

He said the establishment of the park would further facilitate digital capacity building for immediate employment, entrepreneurial skills development, job and wealth creation, as well as promote the digital economy in an era of disruptive technology through effective regulations.

The Managing Director, Abuja Technology Village, Ms Hauwa Yabani, stated that the ICT village was established to serve as a catalyst and desire for transformation of Nigeria as knowledge-based economy.

She added that the park was strategically located and focused on energy, ICT and biotechnology.

The Managing Director, Rack Centre, Dr Ayotunde Coker, said there ought to be a comprehensive cloud and content distribution ecosystem in the country.

He said the technology village funding model should encompass the provision of core infrastructure, power, and tax incentives for investment, exercise duties concessions and input cost concessions.

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