Budget Delay Stalls Telecoms Projects, Says Minister

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Emma Okonji

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has blamed the inability of the telecoms industry to execute most of its national projects, on the delay in the passage of the 2016 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister, who spoke in Lagos during a courtesy visit to Oracle Nigeria recently, expressed his displeasure over the delay, which he said, was already affecting the execution of telecoms projects across the country.

Listing some of the telecoms project that his ministry intends to carryout this year, Shittu said the ministry planned to establish four technology hubs in Maiduguri, Katsina, Ibadan, and Owerri, as well as establish learning centres across several high schools in the country. He said these projects, designed to boost capacity building in the area of technical skills, have been put on hold, pending when the budget is signed.

“The planned technology hubs and the learning centres, will drive skills development in the country, bridge the already existing skills gap and also create millions of employment for Nigerians. We are also looking at generating social security funds and use such funds to boost the projects, just like it is done in other countries of the world,” Shittu said.

He challenged Oracle Corporation and other private sector organisations in the country, to partner government on skills development and capacity building, which he said the country needed at all cost.

Responding, the Country Managing Director at Oracle, Mr. Adebayo Sanni, said Oracle would be willing to partner government in the area of skills development. According to him, Oracle had been involved in technology skills development in Nigeria, through the Oracle Open University Centres in Nigeria, where it trains Nigerians, especially young school graduates on technology skills. Oracle is also involved in training and supporting the training of Nigerians at Co-Creation Hub (CC Hub) located in Yaba, Lagos, where it mentors young technology startups to help them in getting initial capital to begin small businesses. All we need do is to key into government initiative and expand the training exercise, Sanni said.

The minister who expressed his dissatisfaction over the existing technology skills gap in the country, said government was ready to bridge the skill gap by empowering Nigerians in the area of technology skills, through the planned establishment of technology hubs and learning centres across the country.