Anxiety Mounts Over Creation of IT Ministry in Nigeria
While the bill seeking the creation of an Information Technology ministry in Nigeria awaits the approval of the National Assembly, there appears to be growing anxiety among stakeholders who are currently pushing on how to see the bill through.
The long delay for the creation of Ministry of IT, according to Vanguard CyberLIFE finding has continued to be a matter of serious concern among stakeholders in the industry who believe that the present Ministry of Information and Communications was not addressing IT matters properly.
Although official bottleneck and government attitude to IT issues may have delayed the creation of IT Ministry, the clamor , it wold be recalled has been a burning issue for many years.
The creation of IT ministry when fully implemented, according industry watchers will collapse NCC, NITDA and other agencies in the ministry.
However, industry stakeholders who have been pushing for many years for the creation IT ministry noted that the creation of the Ministry was being championed to compel government to take IT issues more seriously for the challenges ahead.
Many experts in the Nigerian IT industry who have thrown their weight behind creation of IT Ministry noted strongly that the new Ministry must be created so as to take IT sector to the next level.
Meanwhile, leading voices in the IT industry who spoke to Vanguard CyberLIFE noted without mincing words that much may not be achieved in the sector unless IT Ministry is created so as to give room for accelerated development in the IT sector which can give the country more money than oil.
While the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Angaye, had earlier said that creation of a Ministry of IT was a "policy statement." the President of Nigerian Computer Society, (NCS) Prof Uwadia in an online interaction with Vanguard CyberLIFE said that NCS and other industry bodies were already championing for the creation of IT Ministry whose time has come.
"IT Ministry needs to be created in order to accord IT better coordination and more attention than it is receiving now. Currently IT functions are scattered in the Ministries of Science and Tech; information and Communication; Education etc, as in NITDA, GALAXY, NCC, NIGCOMSAT, CPN etc. This has the attendant effect of duplication, wastage etc.
"The Ministry of IT will lead to the removal or reduction of the dependence on petroleumj it will empower our youths and create wealth; it will serve as the engine for social, political and economic growth and development" he said.
On the possible date of creation, Uwadia said that no specific date for the creation has been set, adding that it may come sooner than expected.
Speaking on the challenge, he said that normal resistance to change that threatens status quo has been the issue. "This will come from existing MDAs that will be affected by the creation of an IT Ministry" he added.
According to Prof. Uwadia who has been championing the course of IT development in Nigeria, with the creation of the Ministry, IT will assume a higher pedestal than it is now. "Our economy will become truly knowledge driven with the attendant impact on competitiveness and the creation of value for the local economy.. We are still lobbying. We are currently championing the creation of IT ministry. We are still pushing it. We are still in the lobbying stage he noted.
Speaking further on the creation of Ministry, ITAN President/ Vice Chairman of WITSA, Dr Jimson while throwing support on the vreation of the new Commission said that, "We 're expecting the creation of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. I believe the Committee has finished its job and we're expecting government pronouncement on that" he said that one singular thing that would make or mar the Ministry is the caliber of administrators the government engage to pilot it.