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ICT contributed $10 million to economy in 2018 ― Shittu

THE Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu has said that in 2018 alone, the Information Communication Technology (ICT) contributed $10 million to the nation’s economy.

Shittu who disclosed this on Monday at the Valedictory Press Conference described this as an unprecedented achievement in the history of ICT sector in Nigeria.

Recounting some of the achievements recorded under him in the past 3 years, the Minister said IT innovation Hubs was created across the country. “The North West zonal IT hub is in operation while those of the North East and South West zones are ready for commissioning,” Shittu added.

“In 2018 alone, ICT sector contributed about $10million to the economy. This is an unprecedented achievement in the history of ICT sector in Nigeria. IT innovation Hubs have been created across the country.

“The North West zonal IT hub is in operation while those of the North East and South West zones are ready for commissioning, 8 more innovation hubs are being established, one in each the 6 geopolitical zones and one in Abuja and Lagos, in collaboration with the National Social Investment office.

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“From 2015 to date over 2000 Nigerians benefitted from NITDA capacity development program. IT project clearance of NITDA has resulted in a saving of over 16Billion naira in compliance so far. ICT enabled interventions aimed at enhancing the administration’s public financial management reforms has resulted in monthly savings of about N24.7 billion as well as facilitated the recovery of huge sums of money including the recent N1.6 billion from a single account,” the Minister said.

He said upon his appointment as the Minister of Communication, he realised the importance of ICT, and thereafter came up with the National ICT Roadmap 2017-2020 and a Sector strategic plan for 2016-2020, to chart a short-term framework for the Sector.

According to him, “The National ICT roadmap of the Ministry sets out the intent and commitment of the government to continue the development of the ICT sector and to implement the sector policies and plans in an integrated, focused and innovative manner that aligns with the change mantra of the current administration.”

He said presently, some policy interventions are in progress towards making the Communications Sector a major driver of the national economy.

The Minister listed the policy interventions to include “Full Implementation of the National Broadband Plan as the foundation for infrastructure development; Encouraging service providers to use renewable energy for powering Base Transceiver Stations for improvement of Quality of Service and Access; Engaging with the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure mandatory ICT education at the Primary level and alignment of the ICT education curriculum to meet current global trends.

“Accelerating the bridging of the Knowledge Skills Gap in the Nigeria ICT Skills set ecosystem; establishment of ICT Park, the establishment of ICT hubs and learning centres across the six geopolitical zones of the country. Encouraging implementers of e-services to incentivise users to migrate from lower to higher technology things provided ICT utilisation and exploitation across sectors.

“Promoting initiatives that will advance innovation and creativity; Creating a sustainable funding framework for the implementation of the e-government Master Plan and other ICT initiatives of government through active engagement with the private sector; Enforcing implementation of the Local Content Guidelines to ensure patronage of indigenous products and services, as well as increase participation of Nigerians in the ICT economy; including patronage of Nigcomsat by government and local private investors.

“Implementing the National Addressing Policy to promote national security and support e-commerce; Accelerating the passage of the Nigeria Postal Commission Bill to optimise the capacity of NIPOST to be relevant for improved service delivery and bridge the digital divide towards inclusive development. A new policy framework to anchor innovation and digital inclusion in Nigeria has been launched.”

He said work is ongoing to make more investments in building the capacity and harnessing the talents of Nigerian youth. “In particular we are increasing Accelerators and incubator programmes as a means of building and harnessing the capacity of our increasingly ICT savvy youth population,” he said.

Furthermore, Shittu said our game plan is to deploy our indigenous ICT for national development. We will work to ensure that tech start-ups are not burdened with high take-off costs and killer interest rates that they currently suffer from.

We believe that ICT companies should benefit from government incentives where first entrants can get pioneer status which would lead to an unprecedented boom in the sector.”

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