The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), on Tuesday said it is consolidating on digital inclusion and has commenced the ICT training for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD) in Enugu State.
The five-day programme which started on Monday, had its theme as “Training in IT and Entrepreneurship”, and is aimed at nurturing entrepreneurship skills,creating desired social and economic outcomes by facilitating innovative, technology-driven economic growth among PLWD.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, director-general (D-G) of NITDA, represented by Dr Collins Agu, director, Corporate Planning and Strategy, said training PLWD in ICT skills is important so they could be at par with technology trends.
Inuwa said that the training, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE) and implemented by NITDA, is to empower PLWD through investments in ICT infrastructure, policies and solutions with the aim of enabling them live productive lives as well as give them a sense of inclusion in the IT ecosystem.
“We are training people with disabilities to build their capacities, make them employable and self-reliant in order to have effective economic independence in pursing their livelihoods.
“The training will boost participants’ digital literacy and proficiency so as will efficiently participate in the fast-growing digital economy and entrepreneur ecosystem,” he said.
He further said that the programme is in line with the vision of the Federal government, which is to empower the entire citizenry with Information Technologies through the development of a critical mass of IT proficient and globally-competitive manpower.
He expressed delight at the theme of the programme, saying it signifies the need to leverage on entrepreneurial technologies and job creation, especially in the era of COVID-19 pandemic.
The D-G recalled that the FMCDE’s roadmap pledges to leave no one behind, adding that it is critical to ensure the full and equitable participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of the society, particularly in the ICT ecosystem.
He said the NITDA had, through the initiative, trained over 175 persons across the country, thereby creating over 1,000 jobs in a train-the-trainer approach.
Inuwa said that over time, PLWD experienced discrimination in the society which consequently had effects on their social and economic dispositions.
He, however, promised that the training programme will potentially make significant improvements in their lives.
“It will, no doubt, give them opportunities to enhance their social, cultural, political and economic integration in the society while expanding the scope of opportunities available to them.”
He urged the participants to take their training seriously and make the best use of it to promote innovation, wealth for a sustainable national growth and development.
Earlier, the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said the unemployment rate caused by post COVID-19 pandemic had prompted the state government to take proactive steps in ensuring that youths of the state leverage on the new entrepreneurial and economic opportunities associated with digital economy.
Represented by the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Obi Kama, the governor said the state established the Enugu State Technology Hub and Youth Innovation Centre to improve digital skills.
“It is necessary to empower PLWD in the New Normal situation through capacity building programmes on ICT which will accelerate their opportunities in tapping into the endless possibilities unlocked by digitalisation.”
He said the state government will like to partner with the NITDA by making available an office space for the agency to set up its South-East zonal office for the integration of digital skills in the area.