Agriculture - food production and security, sustainability, and Geographical Information System technologies.
Art and Culture - heritage and culture preservation, and commercialisation.
Economy - urban and rural development, rural information accessibility, environmental networks and awareness, rural planning, community telecentres, private sector development, public/private partnership, e-commerce, multimedia industry, tourism, global competition, fiscal policies and measures, value-added services sector, and imports/exports.
Government - information security, national security and law enforcement, legislation, networking standards, public/private partnerships, human resource capability, communications systems, accountability, IT popularisation and awareness, gender empowerment, and universal access.
Health - administration, efficiency, accessibility, and electronic health networks.
Human Resource Development - educational system, virtual library and university system, e-distance learning, study grants and scholarships, government and public sector training, and private sector training.
Infrastructure - IT and physical infrastructure development, connectivity, and private sector investment.
Research and Development - private/public sector partnership, funding, innovation, and human resource development.
The overall goal of the policy is to make Nigeria an IT capable country in Africa and a key player in the Information Society by the year 2005, using IT as the engine for sustainable development and global competitiveness.
The wide-ranging objectives of the policy are as follows:
Establish an adequate institutional framework for IT at the federal, state, and local government levels:
Establish a coordinated programme for the development of a National, State and Local Information Infrastructure backbone through the use of emerging technologies, including the very small aperture terminal (VSAT), fibre optic networks, high-speed gateways and broad band/multimedia technologies; establish a National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to implement, regulate, monitor, evaluate and verify progress on the IT policy; establish an Information Technology Development Fund (NITDEF); create IT Parks as incubating centres for the development of software applications at national, state and local levels; develop national databases and other IT infrastructure to enhance defence and law enforcement, as well as effective planning and communication between citizens at home and abroad; provide adequate connectivity to the Global Information Infrastructure (GII); and enact Bills & Acts, including intellectual property rights, to stimulate and protect the rights of users and developers.
Develop human resource capacity through education, awareness and increased access to Information Technology:
Restructure the education system at all levels to respond effectively to the challenges of the IT sector and establish a special IT development fund; encourage local and global IT skills acquisitions through public and private sector training; empower the labour force with IT skills and support small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to enhance productivity; establish a national IT awareness mechanism at all levels of government and encourage private sector participation to expose Nigerians to the features and benefits of IT; and address open standards and fiscal measures to make IT more affordable to the population.
Utilise IT opportunities to restructure relations between government, business and the general public for better governance, improved trade and commerce, administrative effectiveness and provision of services:
Restructure the healthcare system through the creation of a national databank for on-line national healthcare information, administration and management at all levels; strengthen government and private sector collaboration for the attainment of national self-reliance, establish mechanisms to accelerate and enhance trade and commerce transactions; employ IT facilities to develop wealth and job creation for the entertainment industry; create virtual forums and facilities to strengthen accessibility to government information, transparency, accountability and democracy.
Below are specific strategies to achieve the IT policy objectives for the agriculture, education and health sectors:
Agriculture and Natural Resources
IT will be utilised to re-engineer agriculture in order to maximise food production, improve food self-sufficiency and security, increase output for industrial raw material utilisation, provide employment, economic growth and minimise environmental abuse and degradation. To achieve this, geographical information systems (GIS's) will be developed to monitor the environment and plan sustainable environmental usage; agricultural extension services will be revitalised through the empowerment of farm extension workers with IT skills in areas such as digital mapping, land use, soil types, meteorology, ecology, oceanography, hydrology, and agricultural records; an agricultural information system will be established to provide support for planning, production, storage and distribution of agricultural products and natural resources; IT awareness will be cultivated in all types of farmers at all levels across the country.
No sectoral strategy was outlined in the Nigerian National Policy for Information Technology (IT). However the Federal Ministry of Education has made significant progress in the planning and implementation of the following ICT-driven educational programmes/projects: the National Virtual Library Project, Education Management Information System (EMIS) Programme, the National Open University of Nigeria and Distance Learning Programmes, Computer in Schools Initiative, Nigerian Universities Network, and the National Teachers Institute Teacher Training Programme through distance learning. The main objective of these efforts has been to use an ICT driven approach to improve the efficiency, quality and delivery of the educational system at all levels. Links to some of the aforementioned programmes/projects have been provided below.
IT based healthcare systems will be developed and utilised to ensure that Nigerians have access to good healthcare delivery. In order to do this, existing global IT infrastructure will be capitalised on; all healthcare institutions will be networked to collate information, share data and communicate on-line; full internet connectivity and access for healthcare professionals will be established at all levels; IT skills acquisition will be made mandatory for all healthcare professionals, including the adoption of IT courses in the curricula of all medical and para-medical education institutions and the establishment of a network of co-operating centres/institutions for training education, software development and research; software packages will be developed for all levels of healthcare delivery, supporting clinical work and hospital management in their daily operations and thus producing state/federal information statistics; software packages will also be developed for the mandated accumulation of information coming from all levels of healthcare delivery that will aid in the decision-making abilities of the authorities; healthcare, epidemiological, and administrative records will be established in all hospitals; IT will be utilised to combat serious national health threats such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy, physical disabilities and so on through teaching youth on ways to prevent the transmission of HIV, educating people infected or affected by HIV on palliative measures, and through the provision of on-line conferences as a type of support network.