The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on Wednesday said the N12 billion naira National Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre would be ready for commissioning by March 2023 as one of the legacy projects of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister said the project which was conceptualized by the present administration was part of its diversification initiative.
Pantami made this known in an interview with journalists during a site tour of the project in Abuja.
The Minister said the project Will benefit young Nigerians when completed because the centre would warehouse the recently signed Startups Act and its smooth implementation for the benefit of Nigerians.
He said, “It is our responsibility to ensure that any approval by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, under our supervision is implemented according to the agreement.
“This is exactly why I am here to make sure that the implementation is according to the agreement when it comes to the capacity, the rooms, offices, and training centres; based on what I have seen, all these are in alignment with what the federal government approved twice on 11th November 2020 and 6th April 2021. Secondly, the quality of the work is commendable.
“On 5th April 2021 an augmentation was approved by the FEC after my presentation; based on what I have seen, all these have been accommodated. I commend the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, management team and its board for the policy of government implemented. Their effort is commendable, as the reward of hard work is more work.
“The first project, approved on 11th November, the price is N9.56billion inclusive of VAT, other taxes, and an additional facility was approved on 5th April 2021, N2.65billion, all together it is 12 Billion inclusive of VAT, other taxes. To be fair to you, if not because of the prudent manner NITDA is handling the project, if it was another agency, the project cost would have doubled.
“The completion date is 36 months, commencing from November 2020; however, considering that this is a legacy project by President Muhammadu Buhari, we were able to engage the contractors to ensure the completion of the project within this current government.
“There are so many ways, 1001 ways, that Nigerian citizens will benefit from this project when completed.
“First, the National Startups Act, 2022. It was our idea, an executive bill by this Administration. This building will play a significant role in implementing the Startups Act, particularly if you look at the floors dedicated to training. The building will coordinate the issue of tax holiday, pioneering status and intellectual property and other benefits.”
Earlier in his remarks, the director general of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Abdullahi Inuwa, said the centre when completed would impact the growth of startups, manufacturers and investors within Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.
Inuwa while commending the contractors for the quality of job being executed, urged them to ensure the completion of the project before the set date of commissioning.
Also, the chairman of Cosgrove Limited Umar Abdullahi, represented by Engr Baba Khalid, commended the federal government for facilitating the project’s progress.
He said the building project has a total built-up space of more than 1,500 square meters.
” There are two floors with various categories of short-stay apartments, twelve standard rooms, four two-bedroom apartments, and six studio apartments. Subsequent floors hold a world-class data centre and network operating centre, a double-volume network operating centre and an auditorium.
“The second tower hosts the NITDA office spaces, 3D printing Lab, IT museum, media studio, showroom, staff gym, storage unit, sick bay and more,” he added.