The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has stressed the need for Nigeria to embrace Open Data initiative, to grow the economy and become globally competitive.
The minister, who spoke at the Open Data conference for South-South zone, said that for Nigeria to become an integral part of the ongoing data revolution there is a need to embrace the initiative and improve data literacy as the most important driver of innovation in the 21st century.
Represented by the Director of Planning Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Dr. Mrs. Nonye Nwachukwu, the minister observed that in era when data is driving innovation, it is only imperative for Nigeria to key into the trend to become relevant in the global community. He said, “Data in the 21st century is the single most important driver of innovation, competiveness and growth…, Data is only valuable when it is being used to solve a problem or create opportunities for people.”
Open Data Initiative involves the putting online of non-sensitive government information such as Agricultural prices, vehicle registration, data, as a national resource in machine readable, reusable and accessible formats for economic growth, and the advancement of transparency and accountability in the delivery of services.
Pantami said the theme of the South South zone of the Conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, ”Public Data Resources: A Way forward for Digital Economy,” was designed to build capacity of the supply side of the Open Data initiative, and to share information on the Open Data Action Plan.
He explained that the essence of the forum, was to enable Stakeholders brainstorm on the Review and validation of Open Data Policy Document for approval by Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Pantami pointed out that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had since begun the process of implementing the Open Data Initiative in 2012, in line with provisions of the extant National ICT policy, and since then considerable progress had been recorded.
To implement the Open Data Nigeria Initiative, he noted that Ministries, Departments and Agencies have an important role to play, including development and operation of MDAs Open Data web pages to interface with central data.gov.ng portal, and continuous digitization and uploading of high priority data sets in accordance with format that will be agreed by the conference.
The conference was designed to cover Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. So far, the Ministry had conducted the Open Data Conference in the South East at Enugu, and North West in Kano, where stakeholders enriched the document contributions.