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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NITDA steps up ICT4D plans

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has advanced steps to conclude the Nigerian Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) action plans.

This, the agency said would facilitate the achievement of the nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Plan on the Action of the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) and Africa regional development initiatives as mapped out by the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

Coordinator of the ICT4D Committee, Dr. Moses Ubaru, informed at the end of their meeting at the weekend, that work on the action plan is nearing completion.

He also said that the committee has commenced appraisal of the final draft submitted to it by the consultant, Prof. Clement Dzidonu, who had earlier handled that of Rwanda and Swaziland.

According to him, the ICT4D action plans outline the roadmap for the nation in the effort to integrate IT into all sectors of the economy.

The ICT4D, thus, is the blue print for the deployment of Information Technology in all the sectors of the economy. It is being anchored by NITDA, the government organ charged with nurturing the nation’s IT future.

Equally the ICT4D action plan is expected to enhance the achievement of the MDGs, WSIS and NEPAD, even as it would centre on achieving the 7-point agenda of the President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who recently invited more proactive approach at furthering Nigeria’s development goals in order to adequately take her place among the 20 leading economies by year 2020.

Commenting earlier, Director General, NITDA Prof. Cleopas Angaye, said that the national ICT strategic plan of actions and programmes will cover various sectors and identify particular programmes for short, medium and long term implementation by identified stakeholders.

“The idea is to set out a time-sensitive action plan with realistic targets and benchmarks for sectoral applications of ICT for national development,” he said, assuring that the meetings outcome would be forwarded to the Minister of Science and Technology for onward presentation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) in February 2008.

Champion Infotel recalled that the nation’s ICT4D committee is a broad-based one inaugurated by the former Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, in September 2003 and charged with the responsibility of producing a blueprint on strategic actionable programme for the implementation of the Nigeria IT Policy (NITP).

Experts were recruited by NITDA from various sectors of the economy in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to facilitate the development of the sectoral plans.

In addition, sub-groups such as Health, Infrastructure, ICT Popularisation and Deployment among others were created to reflect the various sectors of the economy.

Each subgroup has a subgroup head while the overall chairman of the Strategic Action Committee is Dr Armstrong Takang, chief executive of Alteq Consulting, a private sector ICT player, while the ICT4D coordinator, Dr. Ubaru also serves as the vice chairman, even as the proposed action plan is sponsored by UNECA as well as funding expert input by Prof. Dzidonu.

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