By Emma Okonji
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has reiterated the federal government’s resolve to create a digital single market for Nigeria, through the Ministry of Communications, in collaboration with the European Union Commission.
The essence according to him, was to reposition Nigeria and bring it at par with developed countries of the world that are keen at transforming their economies digitally.
The minister, who spoke at the 2017 Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition in Abuja on Tuesday, said: “The size of Nigeria makes it the most lucrative investment destination in sub-Saharan Africa with a high return on investment and an emerging market that made it one of the new frontiers for investment and digital market consideration. 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 plan.”
The ministry, he said, is committed to creating a platform, through Digital Africa, where organisations and startups 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, Shittu said.
According to him, ” the ministry is determined to diversify the economy by leveraging on ICT as its benefits. Towards this end, I have instructed that a committee be raised comprising the ministryâ€™s agencies and the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) on the new Digital Single Market paradigm ahead of the EU/Africa Summit holding November 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”
In a bid to enhance business in the ICT sector, the Nigerian government is contemplating to establish a Communications Bank, which will be a development bank that will assist in the financing of ICT companies based in Nigeria.
The recent inauguration of the reconstituted Nigerian National Broadband Council and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Smart City Project was aimed at assisting the government in providing diverse and global input in developing a comprehensive framework to help public and private stakeholders to make informed decisions about Smart City investment strategies, Shittu said.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the minister, said: “The administration of President Buhari is very committed to the use of technology to drive development especially the use of made in Nigeria technology products and services. The government has issued an Executive Order that will ensure that a minimum of 40 per cent of technology spending by the government will be on technology and value added services provided by Nigerian businesses and techpreneurs.”
Osibanjo said one of the principal objectives of government regarding technology was to use it to create employment and drive development, adding that Nigeria has experienced first-hand, how and to what extent big data technologies can assist government in analysis and decision making.
I am particularly excited that with technology, every day in my office, I can see and monitor directly several critical government social services and economic indicators such as amount of power generated throughout the country, Osibanjo said.
Chairman,Â Digital Africa Global Consult Ltd, organiser of Digital Africa Conference, Dr. Evans Woherem, said the conference remainedÂ Africaâ€™s premier consumer technology show, which provides the perfect platform to showcase brand and enhance reputation. It presents to its participants a major opportunity for unrivaled networking and privileged access to strategic partners, investors and potential buyers, Woherem added.