Business

FG collaborates ICT stakeholders on AI to grow economy

From Esther Akaa, Lafia

The Federal Government says it will collaborate with stakeholders in Information and Communication Technology to promote research in  Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies to grow digital economy in Nigeria.

The Voice reports that AI is the use of computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami stated this during the maiden AI summit held between 23rd – 25th March, 2022, at the Aliyu Akwe Doma Banquet Hall, Government House, Lafia, Nasarawa State.

Pantami said the establishment of the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR) was to promote research development in AI and other emerging technologies for national development.

The minister, represented by the Director, NCAIR, Yau Garba, said AI and robotics in Nigeria was one of seven  pillars of the national economic policy and strategy index, aimed at  exploring the gains of digital economy for the well-being of the people.

He said research collaboration in the practical application of AI and other emerging technologies was ongoing with researchers in various universities across the country.

“The innovative use of AI has been changing lives for the better by creating new jobs and augmenting some existing ones while entirely replacing others. AI is creating opportunities in areas like agriculture, health, logistics and security, just  to mention but a few.

“This summit, therefore, provides a platform to discuss, promote and adopt AI to ensure rapid national development on emerging technology for the benefit of the nation,” he said.

He applauded the initiative of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) for organising the summit and charged participants to take advantage of the opportunity to learn new ideas.

In his remark, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr Abdullahi Sule, represented by his deputy, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, commended the NCS for organising the summit aimed at equipping the computer industry with new knowledge in ICT.

Governor Sule said the summit would help in exploring untapped areas of technology for development.

He said the state government has priotised the development of Information and Communication Technology through the establishment of the Bureau for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the digitalisation of the economy of the state.

“The establishment of this innovative institution has resulted to the development of E-Government master plan with the view to digitise government businesses.

“We have also created an E- Commerce portal for the ministry and investment, as well as the development of central billing system in our state revenue service.

“This is in addition to a computer based test centre which makes Nasarawa State the first to own a centre in the country,” he said.

He, therefore, called on development partners to harness the potentials of the youths in the state for the progress and development of digital innovations in the country.

Earlier, the President of NCS, Prof. Adesina Sodiya said the aim of the summit was to develop and expand Nigeria’s capability in AI, in order to trigger numerous opportunities such as better policy formulation, efficient decision making, enhance quality of service, guaranteed citizens trust and generally promote good governance.

Prof. Sodiya noted that the deployment of AI tools will boost revenue in both public and private sectors, remove bottlenecks, ensure smooth planning and increase production output, among others.

He appreciated Governor Sule for his support towards the success of the summit, as well as deploying technology in the governance of the state, saying his achievement earned him award of the digital governor in the year 2023.

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