NITDA, SMEDAN to Have Joint Programmes for SMEs, Build Database for Interventions

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The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has said that the agency will collaborate with the Small and Medium Entreprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to have joint programmes in terms of Infrastructure, digital literacy, and many more; to build a database that will give insights into happenings and where to appropriately channel interventions.

The DG made this known while receiving the Director General of SMEDAN Charles Odii who was on a courtesy visit to the Agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

The purpose of the visit was to seek partnership in terms of infrastructural and human capital development for SMEs in Nigeria and to also submit a memorandum of understanding (MoU) where both Agencies can align and invite DG NITDA to SMEDAN for further discussions.

Inuwa revealed that there were opportunities for collaboration between NITDA and SMEDAN as stated in the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0) like the first pillar which is to foster Digital Literacy and cultivate talents.

He said the collaboration will facilitate the penetration of digital literacy among Small and Medium Entreprise (SMEs) to enhance productivity. He added that it also aligns with the objective of the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF).

“We all know that with digital literacy a market woman can sell her goods without moving from one place to another, as someone can use digital platforms to order for goods and have them delivered to them.”

The DG NITDA stated that the collaboration is apt as it will strengthen policy implementation and legal frameworks like the Nigerian Startup Act.

He said SMEs make up about 90 percent of the country’s workforce and more than 90 percent of businesses, saying “We really want to work with you, to explore how we can get them (SMEs) to benefit from all the incentives within the Startup Act and we target those who use innovation to promote productivity or innovation-driven entreprises.”

Inuwa citing ISF said that there are more than 100 IT hubs in Nigeria and less than 50 percent of these centres are being utilised.

He revealed that both Agencies can utilize these IT hubs as infrastructure for the unserved and underserved areas, which aligns with a pillar of the SRAP 2.0 which is to promote inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services.

“We can come together and decide a benchmark on what an IT hub should look like so that it can properly serve the people.”

On strengthening cybersecurity and digital trust he said “We need to look at how we can come up with cybersecurity solutions for SMEs that will promote digital trust by having SMEs that provide affordable and indigenous cybersecurity services.

Emphasis on another pillar that is SME-centric which is to nurture an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem he said “We need to come up with ways to promote innovation and entrepreneurship thereby fostering a dynamic ecosystem that propels economic growth.

Speaking earlier, the DG SMEDAN Charles Odii said that the Agency has a couple of digital literacy programmes they had started, and they were at NITDA to have their curriculum looked at to see if it meets global standards and to be sure that it aligns with the NDLF.

Odii in terms of the Startup Act said, “We understand that NITDA is the secretariat for the Startup Act, and we want to work with you in sensitising them (SMEs), especially those of them who are startups to take advantage of this and also help to add to your database for registration.”

He said “We have a robust SME database that we are building, and we would like to partner with you to make sure that the framework for this database is in line with what you have for data entrepreneurs.

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