By Etuka Sunday
The Federal Government has anticipated Nigerians to pay 40% of current data prices by the year 2025.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami disclosed this at the Opening Ceremony of Digital Skills Training for ICT Journalists holding at the e-Government Training Center, Public Service Institute of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria.
Dr. Pantami said, the government has addressed two critical challenges in the telecommunications industry, particularly Right of Way (RoW) Charges and infrastructural protection and development which according to him will attract huge local and foeign investments that would encourage competition and crash the price of data.
The training with the theme:
“Digital Skills in News Reportage for ICT Journalists” was organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
While addressing the participants, the Minister noted that digital skills was one of the critical pillars of the National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy unveiled in November, 2019.
He said in order to fully achieved the Digital Nigeria Agenda, there was need to equip journalists in the country with digital skills.
Pantami said, he gave approval for the training in January 3, 2020 and followed up to ensure effective Implementation of that directive because journalists are partners in ensuring effective implementation of the policy.
“Digital Nigeria cannot be achieved without training people that will play a key role in ensuring that we achieve that digital Nigeria.
Journalists have a role to play. Most importantly our ICT Journalists or multimedia Journalists as the case may be. It is because of this reason we feel that on the top of our priority you (Journalists) are the first ones to start benefiting from this training before others,” he said.
The minister who said that multimedia journalism was taking over the journalism space, commended NITDA for kick-starting the training and urged other parastatals under the ministry to follow the agency in training the ICT journalists.
He said, a responsive journalism was key to the success of democracy and good governance therefore, urged the participants to effectively utilise the training opportunity to better their reportage.
Pantami disclosed that the ministry was working on restructuring all the departments, because most of them are obsolete.
“We will have many critical departments that will focus on digital innovation, entrapreneurship, digital economy and many more to make sure that we are on right track for a digital Nigeria,” he said.
On preference of skills over certificate, he said, “what is most important is not the certificate but the skills. Many developed nations are promoting skills rather than certificate.”
In his Opening Remarks, the Director General of NITDA, Mr Abdullahi Kashifu Inuwa said, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced everyone to embrace the new normal, therefore, “there was need to re-skill ourselves, and the only way to do this is through digital skills”, which he said, could open new opportunities for the talented ones.
Mr Kashifu said, those with digital skills made money during the lockdown, while those without digital skills couldn’t make money.
He said, if journalism survives the pandemic, it needs to embrace digital technology to help deliver its work professionally.
The NITDA boss said, the training will focus on empowering reporters with requisite Technology Skills to discharge their duties in the digital age, therefore, urged the participants to make use of the opportunity.
In his goodwill message, the National Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), President, Mr Blessing Olaifa thanked the Minister for the express approval given for the training.
He equally thanked the DG of NITDA for accepting to be the first agency to kickstart the training, assuring him that the lessons learnt would be used to better report the industry.