The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, has said that Nigeria’s economy can gain $53bn from the digitisation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

According to a statement by the agency on Friday, he said this while delivering an opening remark at TechMyBiz Pitch-A-Thon event in Lagos, which was jointly funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The statement read in part, “As SMEs make up a huge percentage of businesses and economic growth, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, has said that digitisation of MSMEs will increase revenue by 26 per cent as well as reduce operating cost by 22 per cent, and contribute $53bn to the Nigerian economy.”

The NITDA DG acknowledged that there were challenges that needed to be addressed to realise the potential of digital transformation in SMEs.

He said, “Firstly, we need to create innovation-friendly conditions in our country in terms of enabling policies and laws, government services, ease of doing business, and so on.

“Secondly, we need to have support organisations — platform that will assist to digitise MSMEs for innovation hubs around the country to incubate ideas, because innovation is a process of taking an idea from inception to impact that means you can have an idea, and you can be innovative, but that is not enough, you need to commercialise your ideas.”

“Then we need the infrastructure, this is important to MSMEs, but Africa is lacking in digital public infrastructure. Digital public infrastructure is beyond having connectivity and access to computers.”

He said, the Second Industrial Revolution was about massive production which required enabling infrastructure for transportation, but today, in the current fourth Industrial Revolution, which was about digital services, there was a need for required infrastructure to aid digital services.

He added that, “Lastly, is the challenge of digital skills and literacy. The digital offerings require digitally literate consumers to benefit from the services, therefore there is the need to enlighten and educate the populace to acquire digital literacy skills.”

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