Minister of communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has stated that young innovators in the country are going to benefit from the ongoing projects by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Pantami who spoke during the inspection of the ongoing digital innovation and entrepreneurship centre implemented by NITDA in Abuja, said the centre will coordinate the issue of pioneer start-ups and intellectual property among many other benefits.
According to the minister, the projects valued at N12 billion consist of two interconnected buildings, of which one would serve as the actual Digital Innovation Entrepreneurship Centre and the second as NITDA headquarters.
He said the projects were approved by the federal executive council (FEC) on Nov. 11, 2020, and April 5, 2021.
Pantami also said it was the responsibility of government executives to ensure that any approval by FEC under their supervision was being implemented according to the agreement.
“When it comes to capacity, the rooms, the offices, the training centres, all these are in alignment with what the FEC approved twice on November 11, 2020, and April 5, 2021,” he said.
“There are several ways our citizens are going to benefit. We have the NSA 2022, an executive bill by this administration. This building will play a significant role in its implementation, particularly looking at the floors dedicated for training, hands-on training.
Pantami added that the building would further consolidate economic diversification which the sector already laid the foundation of contributing 18.44 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
The minister said the project was approved and projected to be completed in 36 months from the time of approval in November 2020
“The completion date as approved by FEC was 36 months commencing from November 2020 to 2023,” he said.
“Considering this as a legacy project of President Muhammadu Buhari, we were able to engage the project managers and contractors to ensure the completion of the project within his time in office.
“It will enable the president to inaugurate the project and this is very important because from start to finish, it is within his administration, especially the second term,’’ he said.
Pantami also said N9.56 billion was approved on November 11, 2020, with value-added tax and other taxes included.
He further said there was an augmentation that included the extension of the project and additional cost to it approved on April 5, 2021, with another N2.65 billion, making it a total of N12 billion.
On his part, Kashifu Inuwa, director-general, NITDA, said the project would be completed by March 2023.
Inuwa said that meeting the expected date would be making history for an indigenous company in Abuja to handle a project of such magnitude.
“If there are any challenges, we will sit with the construction firm to address them,” he said.
Marco Di Canto, project manager from Cosgrove Investment Limited, company handling the project said the progress made was in line with the initial contract programme of works.
Canto also was confident that with both parties binding on their agreement, the project would be delivered in due time.