The growth in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the introduction of a reward scheme like the Nigerian Telecoms awards have changed the status of Nigeria, Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu has said.
The minister, who spoke at the 2016 edition of the Telecoms Awards in Lagos recently, remarked that the Nigerians telecoms industry is now valued at over $38billion in investment profile. He said the sector’s huge contribution to the economy and the combining efforts of stakeholders to encourage participation is impacting the image of the country positively.
Shittu attributed key drivers of the evolution and development of the industry to proactive and responsive policies and therefore tasked stakeholders to work harder to attract more foreign direct investments.
While speaking on the determination of the ministry to draft a bill to unbundle ICT infrastructure so as to enable it contribute more to the national economy, he pointed out that such bill would encourage private participation.
“The draft bill is aimed at increasing private participation in the ICT industry. Apart from the revenue accrued from the sector, ICT should compete favourably with oil and gas sector in terms of job and wealth creation for the country,” Shittu said.
According to him, his ministry’s projection for the digital economy is to create an industry that is less fragmented and and more representative from 2017.
He listed new target levels to be achieved in 2018 to include full implementation of broadband penetration plan (30per cent), ICT contribution to GDP(30per cent) internet penetration (50per cent) and mobile penetration (100per cent)
The minster told the audience, which comprised the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi and top stakeholders in the ICT industry and stakeholders that ICT had provided unprecedented facility and opportunities for Nigerian in other to leapfrog into the knowledge-driven global economy and enjoy the benefits of socio-economic development offered by the post information age.
Therefore, the government is poised to continuously offer technology start-ups the opportunity to make them increase their capacity. “Policy makers are leaving no stone unturned in the determination to drive start-ups/SMEs growth in the ICT sector.
“Plans are underway to bring renowned and global players from abroad to show small and growing industries how they can attain healthy growth in their various businesses and learn the secrets to enable them launch their business efficiently.”
In addition, he also said the Ministry will support ICT stakeholders to collaborate with other countries that had used ICTs for development such as China, South Korea, Singapore and India. “Our strategy is to work with countries that are ready to take advantage of the Nigerian market while deepening indigenous skills,” he said.
He commended Logical Media Group, which since 2004 have been playing important role in recognising the contribution made by organisations and individuals towards growing the ICT sector. To this end, he tasked the awardees not to rest on their oars and that they should see the award as a morale booster.