THE Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications is collaborating with the European Union Commission to create a Digital Single Market in Nigeria.
Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu made this disclosure in Lagos on Tuesday at the 2017 Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication Expo.
Speaking on the theme: The Digital Economy: Strategies For Growth in a Connected World, as the Special Guest of Honour, the minister said this collaboration is timely and coming at a time the ministry is making concerted efforts to implement its ICT Strategic Roadmap, e-Government and Mobile Broadband Plans.
According to him, the size of Nigeria makes it the most lucrative investment destination in sub-Sahara Africa with a high return on investments and an emerging market that made it one of the new frontiers for investments and Digital Market consideration.
Towards achieving this, the minister stated that he had instructed that a committee is raised comprising the Ministry’s agencies and the Nigerian Computer Society on the new Digital Single Market paradigm ahead of the EU/Africa Summit holding November 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Shittu who spoke on efforts of the Ministry of Communications to implement Federal Government’s economic diversification agenda by leveraging on ICT said this administration has hinged the Economic Recovery plans on ICTs as well as with fiscal and strategies policies.
These efforts, he said, are codified in a document known as the ICT Roadmap which components include; the hosting of the Smart Cities Summit, precisely on the 8thand 9th of August, 2017; establishment of an ICT University; establishment of a National ICT Park and Exhibition Centre at the Abuja Technology Village; establishment of a secretariat for implementation of the government master plan, and establishment of an Electronic Document management system, among others.
Barrister Shittu noted that the ICT Sector has in the past year, recorded landmark activities and significant achievements. “The environment for greater achievements has thus been created. Now, there is greater access to ICT and Nigerians are today better able to use ICT, thus integrating them into the global digital economy and its benefits. Although challenges still abound, implementation of already mapped out initiatives and programmes will ensure the optimal transformation of Nigeria to a true SMART State”, he said.
He said government is determined to leverage ICT and break its monopoly and open up the economy to foreign investors just as it did in the telecom sector. “Despite coming up with the economic growth and recovery plan, we are determined to actualize the contents of our very comprehensive ICT Roadmap. This, to my mind, is imperative for the country’s highly import-dependent and consumption-driven economy.
“Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a technology-driven World. The success of any venture without technology is doubtful. The Information & Communications Technology has become a catalyst for success in virtually all sectors of our economy and even in our socio-political landscape.
“This Government is working hard to ensure that all needed infrastructure is in place for the desired growth in the sector, thus helping our national development agenda.”
Shittu urged the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry to mobilise the Private Sector for the needed collaboration with the Government so that adequate local and foreign investments can be sourced for the sector. He also enjoined the Chamber to key into Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, to revive the economy as well as exploring the enormous potentials of the sector to advance the economy.
Commending the importance of event, the minister said, “I can tell you categorically that the ICTEL Expo is worthwhile and has contributed immensely to the development of the sector”, while urging the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organizers of ICTEL Expo to sustain the event for the benefit of Nigeria.
He said the ministry is committed to creating a platform – through ICTEL 2017, where organizations and start-ups can pitch their innovative ideas. These ideas will be passed through a structured selection process to come up with marketable innovations for implementation by the Federal Government.