Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, announced that the IT sector has constantly contributed to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with 18.44 percent in the second quarter of 2022.
According to Pantami, with the execution of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020–2030, the industry is quickly moving toward the actualization of the government's plan for the digital economy.
The sector had made a significant contribution to the GDP in various quarters of 2020, 2021, and 2022, according to the minister, making it the sector with the biggest contribution.
“The ICT sector provided three unprecedented contributions to the GDP of the country in the last three years.
“IT contributed 14.07 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, 17.92 per cent in the second quarter of 2021 and 18.44 per cent in the second quarter of 2022.
“At each time, these numbers were the highest ever contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP,’’ he said.
According to the minister, the ICT sector grew by 14.70 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020.
He said it made it the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy in the last quarter of 2020 and the only sector to have grown by double digits.
Pantami added that in 2020, the sector played a critical role in enabling Nigeria to exit recession.
“The quarterly revenues also generated for the Federal Government rose from N51.3 billion to N408.7 billion, through spectrum sales and taxes from the sector.’’
The minister further said that the ministry was recently assessed for its performance by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), UK and KPMG, among others.
The assessment, he said, was in partnership with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the Presidency.
”Being assessed on the output indicators and milestones for the eight ministerial deliverables, the ministry obtained the highest grade in each of the deliverables.
”The ministry scored 134 per cent on the Implementation of Broadband Connectivity, 127 per cent on deployment of 4G across the country and 99 per cent on Digitalising Government functions and processes.
“On the development and implementation of a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 103 per cent, Implementation of a Digital Identity Programme -86 per cent.
“Improvement and optimisation of revenues from all operators and licensees in the agencies under the Ministry’s supervision -594 per cent, Active collaboration with the Private Sector to create jobs – 111 percent.
“Empowerment of citizens – 137 per cent.’’
He mentioned the NDEPS 2020–2030, the Roadmap for the Implementation of the NDEPS, and the SIM Card Registration Policy as some of the policies that facilitated the growth of the industry.
The National Policy on VSAT Installation Core Skills for Nigerians, the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Telecommunications Sector, and the Nigeria National Broadband Plan 2020–2025 were also included.
The National Policy on Digital Identity for Internally Displaced Persons, the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration, and the NIPOST Rule Making Process Regulation, Pantami continued.
“We have the National Policy on 5G Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy, National Policy on Virtual Engagements in Federal Public Institutions, National Policy on Device Management System.
“There is a policy on National Policy for the Management of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy.
“The National Policy on the Nigerian Government Second-Level Domains, National Dig-Once Policy and National Policy on Communication Satellite (Draft).’’
The minister also recalled the recent signing of the Nigerian Start-Up Act (NSA), an Executive Bill recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Oct. 18.
According to him, the signing of the NSA as a principal legislation was a major achievement that will significantly enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nigeria.
Over 863,372 citizens benefited from digital skills programmes and we have agreements with leading global companies like Microsoft and Huawei, to train millions of Nigerians.
On Aug. 21, 2019, the official broadband penetration figures stood at 33.72 per cent, adding, ”today, it is 44.65 per cent, representing close to 13 million new broadband users.
“Similarly, there were 13,823 4G base stations and we now have 36,751, representing 165.86 per cent increase.
“The percentage 4G coverage across the country also increased from 23 per cent to 77.52 per cent.
“The cost of data has crashed from N1,200 per Gigabyte to about N350, making it easier for Nigerians to connect to the Internet.”
Pantami said that the ministry had also developed an IT clearance portal to support inoperability, eliminate duplication and ensure value for money in the implementation of ICT projects in the country.
He said that the quarterly savings from the IT Projects’ Clearance Process rose from N12.45 million to N10.57 billion.
The minister further said that they created a pool of Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) to accelerate the development of Nigeria’s digital economy, while 355,610 direct and indirect jobs were created.
“Privacy concerns are also being addressed through the newly established Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB).
“The drafting of the data protection bill has reached an advanced stage and the Digital Identity enrolments have also been very successful, with NINs rising from less than 40 million to over 90 million.
“We have been very active in the emerging technology space and even established the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), the first of such centres in Africa,’’ Pantami said.
He claimed that in addition to comparable initiatives that concentrate on the information technology sector, the ministry had created a policy for encouraging indigenous content in the telecom sector.
Among other things, he stressed the significance of halting capital flight.
According to Pantami, the ministry's efforts have continued to be crucial to the growth of the various economic sectors.
He urged all parties involved to continue supporting the government's efforts to quicken the sector's development.
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