The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advocated for shifting of focus from certificate to skills education for the actualisation of Nigeria’s digital economic drive.

Pantami made the call at the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28, titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said 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 that many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco had shifted attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres.

According to him, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.

“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.

“We recently provided a platform, the DigitalNigeria.gov.ng platform, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills. 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,’’ he said.

Pantami stated that the digital economy was a prime catalyst for development, adding that in less than one year, government’s modest efforts had already yielded remarkable results.

According to him, the recent first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s total real GDP.

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 are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. The security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them.”

Also, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalise the digital economy in a functional manner.

Magashi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, said it was important that security and defence establishments show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.

He added that the adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security.

“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 organising 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 Adm. Markson 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.

Kadiri said that a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, seven 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. (NAN)

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