Post COVID-19: NITDA retools strategy for Economic Diversification

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…Says COVID-19 Has Made Digital Economy More Profound

By Emmanuel Elebeke

In a bid to bring the Digital Service Industry to the front burner of the economic diversification of President Mohammadu Buhari, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Thursday presented its draft on National Outsourcing Strategy for Nigeria (NOSN) to stakeholders in an online engagement workshop for better service delivery.
In his address, the Director-General of NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, said the workshop aimed at ensuring the effective implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government.
The DG said that the strategy was in line with government initiative and priority projects such as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and digitization of government services, stating that the strategy will lift Nigerians out of poverty and transform the country to a knowledge-based economy in the wake of the current global pandemic.
He stated that the strategy implementation processes focused on seven pillars, which included the development of infrastructure, skill, and human capital, branding and promotion, digital finance, and incentives.
He said others were innovation and entrepreneurship, trust, privacy, and security, as well as multi-stakeholder governance engagement.
According to him, the journey is to explore the future to identify potential scenarios and to take the steps that are needed to potentially shape it.
“With the recent government initiative to make Nigeria a leading digital economy coupled with the government promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty NITDA under the supervision of Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has refocused its effort to the implementation of the National Digital Economy Strategy.
“This resonates with what is happening globally. Digital economy was emerging before COVID-19 and now the crisis has made it more profound.’’
“We have our competitive edge in the market, but to create and capture value in the global market we need to own this strategy and make it easier to implement by all,” he said.
‘‘In 2019, Grand View Research had valued the global business process outsourcing market size at 221.5 billion USD and at a compound annual growth rate of eight percent from 2020 to 2027.
‘‘Outsourcing market due to COVID-19 had forced organizations to cut cost by leveraging on the benefits of outsourcing for some business processes and focus on core competencies.
“Business process outsourcing offers services such as administration, supply chain management, sales, paralegal, marketing, and customer care services.
“Players in the business compete by providing reliable and cost-effective services across industries and sectors such as government, healthcare, manufacturing, IT, and telecommunications.
“NITDA embarks on this journey to accelerate digital economy and transformation targeted at creating over a million jobs in Nigeria by 2025,” he said.
He, however, urged stakeholders to join hands with NITDA to make Nigeria a better place and a force to reckon with in the global business outsourcing market.
While elaborating on the expectations of the strategy, the Deputy Director, e-Government Development and Regulations Department of the agency, Mr. Ben Ewah, said it was designed as a response to COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the strategy would target the onshore and offshore outsourcing markets and promote local, foreign direct investments in digital outsourcing infrastructure development.
“The outsourcing strategy will develop an export-oriented digital product and service industry with improved funding of Research and Development.
“It will develop a globally competitive Information Technology Enabled Services sector in Nigeria toward making the country a digital outsourcing hub globally,” he added.
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