• Features
  • Updated: May 30, 2023

Why Stakeholders' High Score For ICT Sector Under Pantami Is Questionable

Why Stakeholders' High Score For ICT Sector Under Pantami Is

Former Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Pantami

Recently, ICT stakeholders have heaped encomium on the former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami for the positive revolution he oversaw within the last four years.

Based on their analyses, the digital sector contributed to the growth of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to a statement issued on Monday by the Deputy Director (Press and Public Relations) in the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Ekaete Umoh, the stakeholders spoke during a valedictory and send-forth ceremony organised in Pantami’s honour in Abuja, where speakers spotlighted his achievements.

While addressing the guests at the event, Pantami said he delivered on the eight pillars of the digital economy, in line with the directives from the former President, Muhammadu Buhari. 

“When I came in as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr President charged me and the Permanent Secretary to ensure we deliver on our mandate within the eight key pillars of the digital economy.”

The former minister itemised some of the pillars as the implementation of broadband connectivity; deployment of 4G access to the country; digitalising government functions and processes; development and implementation of a national digital economy policy and strategy; implementation of a digital identity program.

Others were the improvement and optimisation of revenues in the agencies under the ministry’s supervision; active collaboration with the private sector to create jobs and empowerment of citizens through digital literacy and skills.

According to Pantami, as pioneer minister, the performance of the digital sector was assessed by the foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom and KPMG among others, in partnership with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, for which he was adjudged and scored the highest amongst all ministers.

However, a look at a few of his key terminal milestones may make his high scores questionable.

For example, INEC's BVAS is supposed to be ICT-dependent equipment geared towards a highly transparent election process.

The events of the last presidential and gubernatorial elections proved the contrary to be the case.

The recent NITDA bill championed under his ministry is still generating controversies.

There are still unresolved issues as well as a lack of consensus on the relevance of the NIN project as a digital identification instrument that can double as a voter's card for Nigerians at home and in Diaspora.

Moreover, eight years of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy is supposed to make all administrative processes so digitalized and computerized such that those parastatals like the Immigrations Offices should not be bold to ask passport owners to comeback after months of applications in order to get new international passports. 

The list can go on and on.

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