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ICT contributes 14% to GDP in Q1 of 2020 — NITDA boss

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ICT contributes 14% to GDP in Q1 of 2020 — NITDA boss

Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), on Friday said Information and Technology (ICT) contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was 14 per cent in first quarter of 2020.


Inuwa, represented by Dr Vincent Olatunji, the Director, E-Government Development and Regulations, said this in a webinar organised by Abuja and Kano Chapters of  Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN).

He said the growth of 14 per cent represented an increase of almost one per cent when compared to the contribution of 13.12 per cent in the last quarter of 2019.

He noted that the increase happened because people relied more on digital platforms during the lockdown.

“In spite of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic on all economies of the world, ICT  grew by 14 per cent compared to the initial growth of 13.12 per cent in the last quarter.

”The agency’s mandate of regulating the IT sector  ensured that it created initiatives and schemes to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the ICT sector.

”We are ensuring the growth of the sector by promoting the startups ecosystem.

NITDA, with its  two special purpose vehicles, Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), and the Office for Nigerian Content in ICT (ONC), are working hard at achieving the mandate of fostering the growth of technology Startup ecosystem.

“The focus also meant ensuring patronage of local content in ICT.

“Some of these initiatives, include Work Permit for Technology Startups during lockdown, the Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge where three startups with innovative solutions emerged winners,” he said.

Inuwa said that the innovations were locally made ventilator, decontamination chamber and e-Health monitor Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme (TIESS).

He said that the TIESS had Incubation Programme, Technical Capacity Building, Internship Programme and Hub Upscaling.

The director-general said the schemes were designed to target various aspects for them to achieve maximum positive effect on the ICT ecosystem.

“Another programme being developed is Startup Workspace Voucher programme aimed at supporting young  startup to overcome  their financial challenges.

”With strategic partnership and collaborations with stakeholders, a new Nigeria with robust digital economy can be developed,” he said.

Participants at the event included Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state and the Minister of FCT, Malam Musa Bello, among others.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

Ndubisi Ijeoma: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

General news

NDDC probe: Uduaghan dismisses reported N429m road contract allegation

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Former Delta Governor, Dr Emmanuel, on Monday said the allegation linking him with a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) road contract in Port Harcourt, Rivers, was false.


Uduaghan in statement in Warri which was signed by his media assistant, Monoyo Edon, urged the public to disregard the allegation as reported by the media on Monday.

According to the media report, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, had in a letter linked two former Delta governors, James Ibori and Uduaghan, to various contracts awarded by the commission.

The letter was said to have been addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Uduaghan, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Delta, said he had reached out to the minister to immediately correct the falsehood.

The former governor who served for two terms under the PDP before he defected to the APC, said that he had never approached the commission for any contract.

“The publication states that the former governor was linked to the contract for the emergency repair of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt, at a cost of N429m.

“I want to state clearly that the said accusation is false. Uduaghan has never approached the NDDC for any contract whatsoever.

“It is even more ridiculous that the said contract is a road inside Port Harcourt town.

“The attention of the Minister of the Niger Delta, Sen. Akpabio, has been drawn to the publication and I hope he makes a correction,” he said.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Metro

Jigawa reopens 40 schools, directs all workers to resume duty

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Gov. Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa on Monday announced the immediate reopening of 40 schools in the state and also directed all categories of civil servants to return to work from Aug. 4.


The governor, who made this known while briefing newsmen in Dutse, also directed the Ministries of Health and Education to come up with time schedules for running the programme under strict compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the recalling of the workers came few weeks after officers from level 12 and above had resumed.

NAN reports that the state government had initially directed its workers to work from home for two weeks from March 24 and continually expanded the order so as to protect workers from being exposed to COVID-19.

Badaru said the decision to recall all workers back to their duty posts was sequel to the progress recorded in terms of compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures after recalling those in the category of level 12 and above few weeks ago.

According to him, government will adopt the same strategy across the workforce in all the ministries and departments in order to ensure total compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures.

He, however, said that the 40 schools would be selected from primary, junior, senior and private secondary schools from the three senatorial zones of the state.

The governor assured parents and guardians that other schools would also be reopened gradually if there were some improvements in terms of compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures in the selected 40 schools.

Badaru also announced that the state had no single COVID-19 patient for now, adding that the only remaining suspected patient had been discharged after being tested and confirmed negative.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Agriculture

AFAN, OFAB, NABDA advocate use of biotechnology to scale up food production

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Following the impact of COVID-19 and banditry activities in the country, some stakeholders in the agriculture sector and scientists have advocated the use of biotechnology to be deployed to scale up food production in the country.


Some of the stakeholders made it known during a webinar session tagged: “Media Summit on Status of Agricultural Biotechnology Research in Nigeria”, in a statement by the organisers – National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).

The National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Kabir Ibrahim said it was imperative to explore the option of the use of innovation to upscale food production to bring about food sufficiency to avert hunger due to the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He, however, emphasised on the need to sensitise smallholder farmers to embrace technological advancement to avert hunger caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying to achieve food security modern technologies such as biotechnology must be used.

“Already, a lot of work has been going on to commercialise cowpea, maize, cassava, rice, sorghum as well as cotton and the farmers are seeing good results so it is, therefore, easy to get them to embrace biotechnology,” he said.

The Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr Rose Gidado said the application of efforts would encourage stakeholders to participate in the science-based decision.

She said that this move was crucial and necessary for the acceptance and adoption of innovative technology.

Gidado said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of zero hunger by 2030 was fundamental for national development and well being of Nigeria, adding that the facilitation of adequate understanding of the several ways Nigeria to achieve the goal “is very fundamental”.

She said that with the current population of over 200 million people and projected population of 400 million people by 2050, an outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria is faced with the risk of the decreased farming population due to age, decreased arable land, poverty, malnutrition and hunger.

She said that agricultural biotechnology was the solution to Nigeria’s food security. She also said the conventional method of agriculture could no longer meet up with the country’s demand.

“With the current state of agriculture in Nigeria, it has become paramount to also adopt this technology to improve our productivity and revive our industries.”

“The time is now, let us sensitise people on the potential of this innovation to aid decision making and adoption in Nigeria.”

The Acting Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpa harped on the importance of biotechnology application for the benefits of man, especially in the areas of health, agriculture and environment.

“Biotechnology has other applications; in agriculture, it is massive and that is where most postCOVID-19 is coming, you find out that here in NABDA, using Biotechnology we have started impacting massively in the area of agriculture.

“For instance, in our yam multiplication programme, last year, we were able to produce one million yam seedlings and this year, we are targeting five million yam seedlings, all these things are feasible because of biotechnology,” he said.

The NABDA DG said the agency had been involved in using biotechnology to advance health activities, especially in the era of COVID-19 pandemic..

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Education

WAEC: KDSG directs schools to open Aug. 10

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The Kaduna State Government has directed secondary schools to open from Aug. 10 to enable SSS 3 students write their Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE).


The state Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi, said in a statement in Kaduna on Monday, that the directive was in compliance with the Federal Ministry of Education resolution for schools to open on Aug. 4.

This, according to Makarfi, is to enable final year students to write their West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and other certificate examinations.

“Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i has approved Monday, Aug.10 as the resumption date for the SSS 3 students that are expected to begin their WAEC examination slated for Aug. 17.

“Therefore, the Ministry of Education is directing all school principals to arrange to receive SSS 3 boarding students on Aug. 9 and day students on Aug. 10.

“All administrators of public and private schools are to note that the one-week period commencing from today is to allow for necessary preparations and arrangements to meet COVID-19 guidelines for the opening of schools.

“Principals are to ensure compliance to agreed guidelines, which include reduced hours of work/revision to four hours per shift, social distancing in classes, laboratories, libraries and hostels,’’ he said.

He added that there should also be consistency in temperature monitoring and handing over of any suspected case of COVID-19 to health authorities.

He warned that no school should open before Aug. 10, except for boarding schools, where students are expected to arrive on Aug. 9.

The commissioner further directed private secondary schools in the state to report their readiness to open to the schools’ Quality Assurance Authority.

He said that private schools should report, using the appropriate checklist and obtain a written ‘no objection to open’, on clean bill of health.

He also asked that head of higher institutions and principals of secondary schools should report to the relevant department in the ministry.

He called on parents to ensure proper arrangement for safe transportation of their children to and from schools.

“To make the environment safe and conducive for academic activity, the government is doing everything possible to decontaminate and disinfect public schools, including higher institutions and provide hand washing facilities.

“We will also arrange for temperature monitoring of both staff and students, provision of face masks to staff and students, as well as hand sanitisers.

“However, parents are advised to equip their children with extra face masks and small 100ml hand sanitisers for use during their transportation to and from schools,’’ he added.

Makarfi said that appropriate dates for other examinations would be announced in due course, including school opening for the rest of the classes including SSS1, SSS2, JSS 1 to 3 and primary schools.

He encouraged schools to continue the e-learning programme using Google class, Zoom, radio and television and other online platforms until normalcy returned.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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