Gombe: FG Pledges Reactivation Of Digital Economy Centres Across 11 LGAs

Gombe State Government has sought the support of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, to bridge literacy gap among the young population in Gombe state.

The appeal was made during a meeting between the Gombe State Government delegation from the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, led by the Honorable Commissioner, Ass. Prof. Abdullahi Bappah Ahmed, and the Honorable Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijjani, at his office on Wednesday.

The Commissioner highlighted that although Gombe state boasts a considerable number of young individuals thriving in the tech and innovation sector, a substantial portion lacks digital literacy, a challenge that prompted Governor Inuwa Yahaya to direct the Commissioner to establish a robust partnership between the state and federal government through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to address this gap.

“We are here on the directive of His Excellency, the Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya CON, to identify collaborative opportunities and seek Federal Government’s support in bridging the digital literacy gap among the youth in Gombe state.

Recognizing the significance of digital literacy in job creation and boosting the state’s economy, the Governor places great importance on realizing this goal”, the Commissioner said.

The Commissioner used the meeting to intimate the Minister on the efforts being made by the Governor to establish the Gombe Information Technology Development Agency, saying Gombe state has embraced the E-governance policy and has started implementation by automating various government activities across Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

“Let me also bring to your knowledge that the Governor has issued an Executive Order establishing the Gombe Information Technology Development Agency. This reflects the Governor’s commitment to aligning with federal government’s digital policies, aiming to position Gombe as a leading partner in realizing the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu in the ICT sector”, Ahmed said.

“Also, the Governor’s commitment improving connectivity across the state has led to a reduction in Right of Way fee to 145 Naira in Gombe state. We have equally embraced the E-governance initiative, automating various activities in different MDAs. We are also deploying additional digital infrastructure to solidify Gombe’s position as the digital hub of the Northeast sub-region”, he added.

“We want to use this medium to seek the support of the Federal Government in revitalizing the Digital Economy Centres across the 11 local governments of Gombe state. We anticipate that the reactivation and utilization of these centers will foster job creation, offer digital skills training opportunities, and enhance digital literacy”, the Commissioner appealed.

In his response, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijjani, welcome Gombe state readiness to partner with his ministry for the advancement of the ICT sector in the state. He affirmed the Federal Government’s dedication to establishing a robust partnership with state governments to implement digital policies locally in Gombe, assuring that the state’s requests, as presented by the Commissioner, would be addressed.

“This visit comes at an opportune time as we are actively involved in initiatives that could be advantageous for states. We are prepared to collaborate with your government to realize our common goals in the ICT sector, aligning with the renewed hope agenda. We commit to assisting you in domesticating digital policies.

Also, let me assure you that I will promptly initiate the reactivation of all Digital Economy Centres as per your request. We can even use them for the 3MTT training. Looking ahead, we are open to providing even more substantial support for expanding these centers”, the Minister said.

“I acknowledge that your Governor has commendably reduced the Right of Way charges, which is praiseworthy. However, there is room for further improvement. While we are ready to offer even greater support to Gombe state for various reasons, I urge the Governor to reconsider making Right of Way free.

This step would enhance connectivity in the state, ultimately boosting economic activities. Presently, Gombe has 1182 kilometers of fiber cables, ranking 30th on the list. This figure is not satisfactory, and it is essential to cover more kilometers as Gombe is a state of priority in my view”, the Minister added.

“I want to emphasize that due to the presence of Digital Economy Centres in Gombe state, we have selected Gombe as one of the pilot states for several upcoming programs and projects under this ministry.

The state is poised to gain significantly from the upcoming training of 300,000 young individuals in the ICT sector. Also, Gombe is under consideration for an upcoming program that Mr. President will launch soon, providing free internet connectivity to all local government secretariats and tertiary institutions”, the Minister assured.

Speaking shortly after the presentation of an innovation project made by the Gombe genius 70yr old inventor, Engr. Hadi Usman, the Minister expressed the need for more talents like Usman to address challenges that require the intervention of science and innovation.

The Minister further pledged support for expanding Engr. Hadi’s innovation hub, enabling the transfer of skills and knowledge to the younger generation as well as increasing production capacity to meet current demands.

Dr. Tijjani further revealed plans for a working visit to Gombe state in March 2024 during which he aims to engage with stakeholders and relevant government organizations to strengthen ICT and innovation initiatives in Gombe.

The Commissioner was accompanied on the visit by the Permanent Secretary of his ministry, Muhammad Muhammad Galadima, the Director ICT, Gideon Maidawa, Director of Innovation, Usman Muhammad Shehu, as well as other aide of the Governor and staff of the ministry.