Things are changing; Online activities are metamorphosing more than ever. Peoples’ lives online have been altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the wave of the virus has started subsiding, virtual shift remains a strong alternative to the new normal. The federal government is actively investing in technology for present and future dividends.
Government is exploring how to respond to the “new normal.” This will have impact on economic growth, business activities and the development of renewable technology in meeting human needs, to coexist with the coronavirus pandemic. People are struggling to embrace and adjust to the new normal while technology is playing a crucial role in keeping our societies functional even as the lockdown is being relaxed. From the current realities it is apparent the COVID-19 has increased the urgency to innovate.
Digital Technology is radically changing the behaviour of individuals, organisations, and the entire society. COVID-19 pandemic disrupts nearly every aspect of life. It has sparked a sudden economic shift from physical to digital, beyond the immediate fallout of the crisis. It has become clear that some of these shifts are here to stay, whether we like it or not. Furthermore, as stated earlier on, the COVID-19 crisis is radically accelerating the digital future.
Towards the tail-end of 2020, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami; Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi; MD Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Abubakar Mohammed and other CEOs under the leadership of the minister, commissioned so many projects, at different event witnessed by some prominent Nigerians and IT stakeholders.
The projects commissioned include: Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre Enugu State Polytechnic, NIGCOMSAT Northwest Regional Office, Kaduna State and NCC’s Emergency Communications Centre Kaduna. Two virtual institutions, digitalnigeria.gov.ng, academy.nitda.gov.ng, National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and many other IT Centres across the country.
The first week of lockdown witnessed an amazing journey by NITDA. There was the sudden switch of programmes from physical activities to virtual programmes. This made the agency continue working freely, unlike other small and local businesses as well as some MDAs, which hibernated for sometime. This is due to the foresight and effort of the director general of NITDA and his efficient team.
The NITDA boss, Mr Kashifu Inuwa once said “The unprecedented disruption by COVID-19 has made the need for digital economy more urgent unlike before. The government operations, industry structure and business are being disrupted which in turn has made the digitalisation of the economy, in general, to be widely facilitated.”
Going by his admittance, most companies, MDAs have taken steps in ensuring robustness of their IT systems to enable remote work and operational resilience. This is evidently witnessed at the virtual Federal Executive Council meetings.
As the world witnessed this tremendous shift to virtual activities, new cyber threats have also emerged. This is a critical issue that NITDA is paying priority to–curbing the threat of cybercrime. As a response to this, the agency issued its National Cyber Security Policy Implementation Guidelines on May 9, 2020.
A successful digital economy strategy in Nigeria will require re-framing Growth Strategy in the country’s infrastructural sector. The technology leaders in the country should not be discouraged due to the diversion of mission from physical to virtual by the tech ecosystem. There is need for more focus on harnessing the power of continuously evolving digital technology to break down well-established barriers to entry and devise new business models.
In reality, economic transition into the ‘new normal’ in Nigeria is not so difficult to the general public despite the panic created by certain sectors.
Nigeria is gradually opening up again as the new normal has made people adjust to working remotely and businesses are increasingly being forced to move to digital space. Almost every activity has moved online and if current trends are anything to go by, remote work is the future. The new normal is here to stay! We better adjust and accommodate the changes or eliminated by them from the business space. Drive towards tech will ultimately benefit all sectors, particularly those who adhere to digital initiatives.