BY GLORIA USMAN, ABUJA – Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has said that Nigeria must as a matter of deliberate policy begin to embrace Open Data initiative to be able to grow and become globally competitive.

Pantami also said that for Nigeria to become integral part of the ongoing data revolution, there is the need to embrace Open Data Initiative and improve data literacy of its citizenry, especially now data is the single most important driver of innovation in the 21st century.

The Minister, who stated these at the South-South Zone of the Nigerian Open Data Conference held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, noted 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.

Represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Dr. Mrs. Nonye Nwachukwu, the minister further said; “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 online 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”. 

He said the theme of the South South zone of the Conference in Uyo, ‘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.

Pantami 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 the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The minister said 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 the prescripts of the extant National ICT policy, adding that since then, considerable progress has been recorded.

Pantami explained that to implement the Open Data Nigeria Initiative, 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.

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