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Thursday, January 05, 2006

JACITAD advocates expansion of NITDA board

JOINT Action Commit-tee on Information and Communications Technology Awareness and Development (JACITAD), has advocated for the expansion of the proposed National Information Technology Development Agency Fund (NITDAF), as contained in the NITDA draft bill before the National Assembly.

JACITAD is a non-government organization founded in 2003 and ever since then has been active in the ICT sector, even as its membership cuts across media professional and corporate industry players.

The NGO noted at a presentation on public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology in Abuja recently, that the expansion of NITDAF board has become necessary to accommodate a larger interest such as the media among others.

The Committee also noted that though funding for the agency is a critical one, it strongly recommended that a certain percentage be set aside for NITDA in the nation’s annual budget allocation, rather than waiting for mere subvention from the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST).

This, JACITAD emphasized would speed up government’s involvement in the funding of the agency, considering the security implications of some of NITDA’s functions which require large capital to meet.

Current board set up for NITDAF as stated in the bill approve of membership of a chairman to be appointed by the FMST minister on the recommendation of the Director-General (DG) of the agency.

In addition, it would have representative each from the FMST, Federal Ministry of Finance, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

NITDAF membership as presently arranged would also include one
person from the academia to be nominated by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and their tenure would last for three years.

JACITAD also made case for the larger Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country, by soliciting a nominee into the board of NITDA, saying that the Committee could effectively play the role of representing CSOs on the board.

It further asked for the creation of specific department to coordinate the publicity and awareness campaigns in all the directorate of the agency, so as to boost the ICT awareness and development in the country.

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