The Young Innovators of Nigeria (YIN), has urged stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to ensure Information Technology (IT) inclusion to drive the country toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The President of YIN, Mr Andrew Abu made the call in Abuja on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  while evaluating the performance of the IT sector in 2018.

Abu said that the set target for the SDGs was 2030 and time was already ticking out.

He added that trends in technology were advancing and the people as well needed to align themselves to the changes.

“In 2019, if the ICT sector will move forward, stakeholders need to ensure IT inclusion in their programmes which would be directed toward achieving the SDGs.

“We should be concerned of building IT infrastructure like internet accessibility, especially at the bottom of the pyramid because the problem is majorly at the grassroots.

“As a country, we need to invest more in IT Research and Development (R&D) technology acquisition, because that is what drives development in any sector.

“Our programmes should engage more women and children so that nobody will be left out as technology is advancing,” Abu said.

According to him, technology skills acquisition should be included in schools’ curriculum to enable students complement their course of study with relevant requirements in the society.

Abu emphasised that developing IT infrastructure and encouraging technology skills acquisition would create jobs for many unemployed people if they were properly engaged.

According to him, if people do not abide by the trends in the ICT sector, lots of people will lose their jobs in the near future.

Abu also recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved Executive Orders Three and Five which encourages the Ease of Doing Business and boosting local content production, adding that it had been impacting on the ICT sector in 2018.

“The year 2018 has been a busy year for IT development in the area of policies for technology development.

“Last year, we had the Presidential Advisory Council on Technology, which YIN was part of and we had the establishment of technology incubation hubs across the six geo-political zones of the country.

“We also had in 2018 a new president of the Computers Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) who is presently directing IT practice in the country toward the right direction.

“The President approved Executive Order Three, which encourages the Ease of Doing Business, and all these are directing the sector on the right path,” Abu said.

He, however, said that some IT companies lost jobs due to inconsistency in the exchange rate of the dollar to the Naira.

Abu called on the government to consider and adopt trends in technology, including Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain, and Crypto currency, among others.

He added that the recent advancement in technology was the future and the government needed to take that into cognisance, especially in the banking sector.

According to him, YIN will continue to engage more ICT start-up entrepreneurs, guiding them on career path as well as scaling up their career, while ensuring consistency in advocating for cheaper internet accessibility for Nigerians.