The issue of unemployment is biting the hardest since independence and sadly, things are not looking like the situation will end anytime soon. Base on this assertion, Dr Isa Pantami, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development (NITDA) has unveiled the intentions of the organisation to employ entrepreneurship in Information and Communications Technology, so as to tackle graduate unemployment.
Every year, thousands of Nigerian youths graduate with the hope of being absorbed into the labour system, but with the looming disaster staring at us in the face, however, hopes are dashed, dreams are thwarted. A couple of years ago, when the reality of unemployment began to rear its ugly head, it became mandatory for every undergraduate to pass a course in entrepreneurship before graduation. However, this is clearly not enough, as the average graduate needs practical tutorials and a reliable system to enable their businesses to thrive.
At the stakeholders meeting on the ICT entrepreneurship in Abuja, Dr Pantami said that the organisation successfully followed through with their promise of creating a subsidiary- the office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), which was built to help start-ups but not in a way to compete with the existing tech entrepreneurs.
The idea behind the subsidiary establishment is to produce tech entrepreneurs who will provide IT solutions and develop world-class IT products and services. Aside from free mentorship and some other benefits of the organisation, the OIIE was created to foster innovation and address the challenges that inhibit the growth of tech entrepreneurs. With these in place, it is hoped that the burden of unemployment will be lessened and wealth creation, achieved.
Talking about the need to create an atmosphere for entrepreneurship to thrive, he said:
‘‘The OIIE will influence government policy by sharing research findings from markets similar to Nigeria. This will assist in packaging Nigeria as an attractive ICT start-up ecosystem. It will be an opportunity for educational institutions to turn ideas into spin-off businesses that will provide funding for research and innovation in the long term. I believe the modest achievements of these institutions should shape our educational policy and inspire our universities to rethink the content of their curricula.”
Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, said further that security is not the only pressing issue in the country; the issue of welfare is as important. If every graduate cannot be absorbed in public and private parastatals, it is the duty of the government to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship to thrive.