COVID-19 is fast-tracking Nigeria’s digital economy —Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has said that the digital economy will contribute more than 45 per cent of the nation’s GDP, as the contribution of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector alone is now more than 17 per cent.

The Minister made this known while speaking at the virtual Nigeria Internet Governance Forum 2020 (NIGF) with the theme: ‘Achieving Inclusive Digital Economic Development in the Post-COVID-19 era’.

Pantami said that the broadband plan 2020-2025 which focused more on broadband penetration, stating that as of July 2020, the level of broadband penetration is 42.0 per cent and by the end of the year, it will reach at least 50 per cent.

“We are making use of the covid-19 era to achieve digital economy development”, said the minister.

In his goodwill message, Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) represented by Dr Vincent Olatunji, Director, e-Government Development and Regulation described the event as apt, adding that, “as this is a new era and it is important for government to ensure that the infrastructure it needs to keep governance up and running when all government organisations fully come on board to use the internet is already in place.”

Abdullahi maintained that the campaign to move government businesses online which is e-governance has now become a reality, adding that there was no other choice than for the government to deliver its services online which could only be achieved with corporate internet governance.

The NITDA boss revealed that the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation is set to formally approve and recommend virtual meetings, programmes and workshops for all government officials in the country in order to facilitate digital economy.

“A lot of people see e-governance as a bigger calamity but I see it as a bigger advantage for the sector” the DG said.

He added that when other sectors were losing money, the ICT sector was making money.

He stated that most government organisations went to sleep during the pandemic but for those in the ICT sector, they knew they had no choice than to improve on what they were doing before. And that was why offices were kept running.

Now most government organisations have keyed into this and there are so many reforms in the public sector; like the renaming of the ministry and the launch of the Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

The DG said with the pandemic, working remotely has become the norm even globally, adding, “whether you are a developed or developing nation, in the public or private sector, you don’t have any choice but to use the internet to deliver on your services.”

 

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