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Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Delivers NDC Graduation Lecture: Calls for Skills Education in Actualizing Digital Economy Drive of the Nation

The Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has called for skills education for the actualization of Nigeria’s digital economy drive. The Minister made the call while delivering the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28 at the College Auditorium in Abuja on Tuesday 4 August 2020.

The Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

The Lecture titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, was part of the activities lined up for the Graduation Ceremony of National Defence College Course 28. Speaking during the Lecture, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami stated that digital literacy and skills was one of the pillars outlined for the development of the digital economy of Nigeria in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

The minister added that emphasis on certificate must be reduced in engaging labour force, urging that focus should be shifted to skills if the nation must catch up with development. He said many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco are paying more attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres. According to Dr Isa Ibrahim, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.

According to him, the digital literacy and skills pillar recognizes the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. He said “We recently provided a platform, the, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills”.

He said, “It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens. The minister said “over 36,000 Nigerians have enrolled on the platform since the 2nd of April, 2020”.  “We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills”.

“The National Defence College is an institution that supports the development of skills and there are many digital techniques that can support the great work that you are doing here”. “We will be happy to collaborate with you in this regard,’’ he said.

The Minister further disclosed that the national security architecture must key into the digital revolution in tackling the prevailing security challenge using digital technology. He explained that emerging technologies came with different solutions to security challenges of every nation such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic technology, drone and many more. These he said are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. He reiterated that “the security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them”.

Also, speaking at the event, the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalize the digital economy in a functional manner. The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sabi’u Zakari, stated that adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security. He further remarked that it is important for security and defence establishments to show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.

The Permanent Secretary thereafter commended the Commandant and staff of the College for a well organised lecture. “I wish to commend the Commandant, staff and the entire College community for their collective efforts in pursuing the ideals of the College. “In particular, I commend you for organizing the graduation lecture, which was exciting, educative and would be helpful to the economic and security needs of the Nigerian nation,’’ he said.

Earlier, the Commandant of the Collage, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadiri, said the lecture had become a key component of the training programme of the College and a major highlight of its annual graduation ceremonies. The Commandant said the lecture was keeping with an age-long and universal tradition of educational institutions to commemorate graduation with an intellectual discourse on a contemporary subject. He said a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, 7 Senior Police Officers and 15 participants from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Others according to him, include 18 senior military officers from the Armed Forces of friendly nations. “A large part of the Course was conducted online, after the general lockdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Course was conducted under the theme “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria”.

“Economic diversification is a broad based strategy designed to cause positive and multi-sectoral economic growth and development,’’ he said.