Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, yesterday disclosed that the nation’s excess crude account (ECA) balance as at March 16, 2021, stood at $72,412,384.88.
Ahmed who made the financial figures public in Abuja, during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja further stated that Stabilization account balance as at March 16, 2021 was N24, 994, 821,242.14 while Natural Resources Development Fund Account balance as at 16th March, stood at N90, 744,488,087.88
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo chaired the meeting.
On his part, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, spoke on the issue of the implementation of broadband access in the country.
He sought the support of NEC in the formulation and implementation of policies that will ease broadband penetration in Nigeria.
He said: “All States should support us by adhering to the N145 Right Of Way (ROW) charge per linear meter. The long-term benefits are far more than the initial fees being collected. Before the NEC consensus to peg the ROW charge at N145, there were instances the fees varied between N5000 – N10,000.
“We need a Point of Contact in each State as the interface on broadband and digital economy issues, and each State is also encouraged to have an institution or department to handle requests regarding broadband and the digital economy”
Highlighting some of the benefits derivable in increasing broadband access in the country, the Minister noted that the World Economic Forum predicted that over 60 percent of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that within the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70 percent of new value.
Pantami added that “the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy in both the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) and the entire year 2020. This was based on the Q4 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released.”