The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy makes a presentation during President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration Scorecard on the Digital Economy Sector.
Digital technology is the use of advanced information and communication to collect, store, analyze and share physical information.
It has been recognized as a source of energy and a growth engine for the social and economic empowerment of any nation. Much is being accomplished in this age as a result of digitization.
According to the United Nations, digital advances can support and accelerate the achievement of each of the 17 sustainable development goals.
He went further by stating that digital technologies have advanced faster than any innovation in history. This is a fact.
In Nigeria, for example, technology and the digital economy are reshaping the country and providing employment opportunities, as many technology enthusiasts have made breakthroughs through their potential in the industry.
Therefore, it is not a fallacy to say that the future of Nigeria lies mainly in the non-oil sectors and technology is one of the leading sectors.
A look at the Information and Communication Technologies sector indicates an impressive contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2022.
In 2020, the industry accounted for 15% of Nigeria’s GDP, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
This trend has continued over the last three years, during which time the industry has grown by 18.4%.
All of this points to the fact that the country’s technological innovation has made significant strides in the recent past.
In fact, the growing influence of digital technology in all public and private institutions has successfully opened a new line of contact for citizens and the government as well.
Today, government agencies make use of software applications (apps) that users can download and access relevant information needed to perform a particular task, conduct business transactions, and fulfill an obligation, as the case may be.
With such applications, one can apply for services like obtaining or renewing licenses, passports, paying utility bills, business registration and many more at one’s comfort zone.
This has helped to reduce costs, stress, generate revenue for the government, improve transparency and create employment.
A typical example is picking up a new driver’s license which can now be done within five business days. In fact, this is a huge relief compared to what could be obtained in the past when the process was flawed due to delays, issuance of false licenses by resellers and overpayments.
Also, banks, corporate organizations and private companies have websites to facilitate their business transactions.
Therefore, there is a need for government agencies at all levels to get involved in such innovations.
It is worrying and indeed demeaning that many government agencies at various levels still operate the analogue system, in a country like Nigeria, hailed as the giant of Africa.
Official documents are still physically moved in a file from one office to another through an office courier. The information is not digitally archived.
This explains why vital information is lost every time an unfortunate incident occurs, such as a fire or theft.
It can be argued that digital technology can lead to job losses, but on the other hand is the fact that it improves efficiency when the employees originally assigned to perform those tasks are digitally empowered to contribute their share to the economy.
The world is becoming more and more digitally compatible and Nigeria should not be an exception, nor should the country move at the speed of a snail in a world that has become a global village.
Written by Folasade Orimolade, Head of Reporting Unit, Radio Nigeria; Edited by Muzha Kucha