‘Technology Empowerment Will Save Nigeria from Recession’

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Emma Okonji

The Managing Director of Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Johan Jemdahl has advised the federal government to expedite action in empowering the Nigerian citizens with technology, insisting it is the fastest way for the country to move out of the economic recession.

Jemdahl , who gave advice in Lagos, during an interview with THISDAY, said most countries that passed through recession in the past, were able to move out of recession through empowerment of their citizens with technology.

“If you take a look at Nigeria’s GDP, you will discover that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a major contributor to GDP. There is need for increased mobile banking, financial inclusion, and connectivity. If people are connected with their devices, they will not feel the impact of recession. This is true because connectivity gives access to the internet and there are lots of things Nigerians could do on their own when connected to the internet, without relying on government,” Jemdahl said.

So what government needs do in the time of recession, is to empower its citizens technologically and allow the citizens to drive the economy, specially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Jemdahl added.

He insisted that empowerment of people in the society remained the key because it would drive development and cushion the effects of recession. Empowerment in the area of technology is the way out of recession. When people are empowered they will be encouraged to go into small scale manufacturing through which they could sustain the country and even have surplus for export, thereby supporting international trade that will bring in foreign currency into the country.

According to him, “Once Nigeria begins to exchange goods and services with foreign currencies like dollar, the economy will quickly bounce out of recession. If people are empowered, they become creative on their own and creativity is what is driving developed economies of the world and creativity is exactly what helped most developed countries to go out of recession fast at the time when they witnessed recession.”

Jemdahl who also advised government to make her policy regulation a lot easier for technology companies, insisted that policies on import duties for technology equipment should be reviewed downwards and policies that will protect home grown and locally developed products should be encouraged.

He said Nigeria should begin to move to a more knowledge-based economy and make broadband available and affordable for all its citizens. We need broadband connectivity in this country. Although government is trying to increase broadband penetration in the country, but this has to be done fast because connectivity is key to speedy economic development.

Nigerians are technology savvy people and the sure way out of recession, is to empower the people technologically, because empowerment will lead to better and informed decision making, Jemdahl said.