By Emma Okonji
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has reiterated government’s commitment to achieve a minimum of 70 per cent broadband penetration in Nigeria by 2025.
He stated this during the recent visit of Phase 3 Telecoms Limited, led by its Executive Chairman Mr. Stanley Jegede, in Abuja.
The Minister said the Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for digital Nigeria cannot be achieved without broadband penetration in the country.
According to Pantami, “Whatever we do we relied so much on broadband penetration. That is why any effort to compliment what we have been doing to ensure broadband penetration, even for one kilometer is highly commendable, we do not undermine it, we really appreciate it.”
He said the responsibility of building the ICT sector does not lie on government alone noting that ICT globally are being supported and developed by private sector.
Pantami added that, “the main responsibility of government is to ensure that the environment is favorable and conducive and if there are any challenges, government will intervene.
“This is what we will continue to do and I assure you within the time I am going to spend here, I will give 100 per cent to ensure that all the challenges we encounter are addressed.”
The minister, pointed out that government was serious when it comes to broadband penetration and they are eagerly waiting for the report of the National Broadband Plan Committee (2020-2025) recommendations for the stakeholders to join hands together and ensure they take broadband penetration to the next level.
He said the access gap in Nigeria was becoming worrisome, stressing the need to bridge it because broadband penetration remained directly proportional to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country.
“The idea of coming up with digital economy is not only on paper, but to try to implement it religiously. That is why we come up with eight pillars that have strong roles to play and most importantly solid infrastructures which you have significant role to play in supporting the federal government to achieve that hence the responsibility is for all of us” Pantami stressed.
On his part, Jegede commended the minister over the resolution of the Right of Way (RoW) issues and the way he redirected the focus of the Ministry of Communications to Digital Economy.
“That means it goes beyond just connectivity, it goes beyond what we use to do and we have no doubt that your years of experience and exposure at the NITDA and various other sector will come to bear directly in the Ministry,” Jegede said, adding that Phase 3 Telecoms is a national long-distance operator that has built up extensive fibre network across the country, with the main focus is to connect Nigerians and improve broadband penetration.