Menu Close

NITDA, SMEDAN to design programmes for SMEs, build database for interventions to create 70m jobs –Inuwa

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, and Mr. Charles Odii, Director-General of SMEDAN, During the Latter's Visit to NITDA Corporate Headquarters, in Abuja, FCT         Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, says the aim of stakeholder collaborations is to attain approximately 40 million small businesses spread across Nigeria, which in turn, would be responsible for 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 70 million jobs

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has affirmed the agency will partner with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to have joint programmes on Infrastructure, digital literacy, and several others towards developing the SME ecosystem in the country.

The Information Technology sector regulatory agency disclosed Inuwa stated this Friday, February 23, 2024, while receiving Charles Odii, Director General of SMEDAN, who was on a courtesy visit to the agency’s corporate headquarters, in Abuja, FCT.

The Director-General of NITDA noted that the objective of such collaboration is to attain approximately 40 million small businesses spread across Nigeria, which in turn, would be responsible for 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 70 million jobs.

Inuwa also emphasised the need to build a database that would give insights into happenings and where to appropriately channel interventions.

According to NITDA, the purpose of Odii’s visit to its corporate headquarters was to seek partnership in terms of infrastructural and human capital development for SMEs in Nigeria.

Besides, it was also submit a memorandum of understanding (MoU) where both Agencies can align and invite DG NITDA to SMEDAN for further discussions, said the IT sector regulator.

Inuwa revealed that there were opportunities for collaboration between NITDA and SMEDAN as stated in the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0).

It is equally noted that the first pillar is to foster Digital Literacy and cultivate talents.

The collaboration will facilitate the penetration of digital literacy among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enhance productivity, stated the Director-General of NITDA. He said it also aligns with the objective of the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF) in the country.

Inuwa noted: “We all know that with digital literacy a market woman can sell her goods without moving from one place to another, as someone can use digital platforms to order for goods and have them delivered to them.”

He further stressed that the collaboration is apt as it will strengthen policy implementation and legal frameworks like the Nigerian Startup Act.

SMEs make up about 90 percent of the country’s workforce and more than 90 percent of businesses, stated he.

The Director-General said: “We really want to work with you, to explore how we can get them (SMEs) to benefit from all the incentives within the Startup Act and we target those who use innovation to promote productivity or innovation-driven entreprises.”

Citing ISF, Inuwa said there are over 100 IT hubs in Nigeria and less than 50 percent of these centres are being utilised as of now.

He disclosed both government agencies could utilise the IT hubs as infrastructure for the unserved and underserved areas, which aligns with a pillar of the SRAP 2.0, to promote inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services for consumers.

He stated: “We can come together and decide a benchmark on what an IT hub should look like so that it can properly serve the people.”

On cybersecurity and digital trust

In respect of strengthening cybersecurity and digital trust in the ecosystem, the NITDA Chief said: “We need to look at how we can come up with cybersecurity solutions for SMEs that will promote digital trust by having SMEs that provide affordable and indigenous cybersecurity services.

“Emphasis on another pillar that is SME-centric which is to nurture an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Inuwa also suggested: “We need to come up with ways to promote innovation and entrepreneurship thereby fostering a dynamic ecosystem that propels economic growth.”

Speaking earlier during the visit, Charles Odii, Director-General of SMEDAN, had said that the agency has a couple of digital literacy programmes already started.

Odii affirmed that the team was at NITDA to have their curriculum looked at to see if it meets global standards and to be sure that it aligns with the NDLF.

In regard to the terms of the Startup Act, he said: “We understand that NITDA is the secretariat for the Startup Act, and we want to work with you in sensitising them (SMEs), especially those of them who are startups to take advantage of this and also help to add to your database for registration.

“We have a robust SME database that we are building, and we would like to partner with you to make sure that the framework for this database is in line with what you have for data entrepreneurs.”

Kindly Share This Story

Kindly share this story