By Ngozi Onyeakusi—The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida has applauded the proposal by the Hon. Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, to enlist and train three million Nigerians over a period of four years, which will make the country an exporter of digital skills.

Maida, who spoke recently in Lagos at the City Business News Summit, said the programme, which has already attracted 1 million applicants, is capable of increasing Nigeria’s pool of technically-skilled persons in the global market leading to potential employers of digital and technical skills in the international scene to begin to engage more Nigerians.

Speaking on the theme of the summit, ‘Repositioning Nigerian Economy through Telecommunications: 2023 and Beyond’, NCC boss noted that, in recognition of the rapid pace of technological advancement that is disrupting industries across the globe, Nigeria’s vision is rooted in the belief that embracing this disruption and fostering innovation will propel the nation toward sustainable growth, economic diversification, and enhanced living standards for all Nigerians.

Represented by the Commission’s Director of Research and Development, Ismail Adedigba, the NCC’s chief executive officer said “the vision is, thus, to accelerate the growth of Nigeria as a global technical talent hub and a net exporter of talent; to deepen and accelerate our position in global research in key technology areas and raise the complexity and dynamics of our economy by significantly increasing the level of digital literacy across Nigeria. In this regard, the Honoruable Minister is looking to create a pipeline of three million technical talents.

“This programme, which has commenced already with over 1 million applications by potential trainees, is expected to increase the level of digital and technical skills among Nigerians, especially young and middle-level talents, to 70 per cent by the end of 2027. This will position Nigerians to productively contribute to the economy and place us in the top 25 percentile of research globally in the key areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), IoT, Robotics, Blockchain, and Additive Manufacturing in keeping with the strategic plan unveiled by the Honourable Minister,” he said.

Maida said the policy direction of the Ministry, which is being driven by five pillars, will deliver on the goals of fostering economic growth and development. These pillars which include policy; infrastructure; innovation, entrepreneurship and capital; trade and knowledge, are the bedrock of the Strategic Vision Plan (2023 – 2025) and form the guide to channel our efforts to harness the potential of the telecommunications sector and drive positive change in Nigeria.

He said the Commission remains committed to providing an enabling environment for the building of the critical infrastructure required to power a strong digital economy, guarantee improved access to quality broadband connectivity, and the efficient management of the nation’s spectrum resources.

“As we work with our supervising Ministry – Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy – to take these steps to provide the enabling environment for repositioning the Nigerian Economy through telecommunications in 2023 and beyond, we call on Nigerians—and especially our compatriots in the media—to tap into the aspects of these interventions that are relevant to them. The ambitious plans we have set out may seem lofty and even incredible, but through strategic partnerships and collaborations with all stakeholders, we believe that they are achievable,” the EVC said.