Nigeria has made much progress in the ICT sector with investments in excess $70 billion.
With contribution of 11.3 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); the ICT sector has been a pillar of Nigeria’s economy and a key driver of job creation over the past decade.
Today, ICT is a way of life. For instance, the mobile phone for instance rings in every pocket and it no longer a luxury only the intrepid can afford.
Despite the achievements, ICT is only widespread in the urban and semi-urban areas; much of the population in rural areas are yet to enjoy the benefits of ICT.
The reason is that, critical broadband infrastructure, power, and access to forex and finance have all conspired to hobble the expansion services.
Maintaining existing infrastructure is also big challenge, resulting in poor services offered by service providers.
That is why the plan by the federal government to set up an ICT Development Bank is most welcome.
The bank is expected to provide funding for the industry in order to promote and encourage young entrepreneurs in ICT.
Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, noted that the ICT Development Bank will, among other services, reduce the dependence on commercial banks for funding, offer lower interest rates and grow the ICT industry.
The culture with commercial banks, is responsible for the delay or abandonment of great innovative ICT projects in Nigeria.
The proposed ICT Development Bank should be run the industry best hands who understand that there is need for a paradigm shift from how things were done in the past when it comes to research.
It must not lend outside the ICT sector because it is a specialised financial institution.
And unlike commercial banks, it must not accept deposits from the public.
Its primary object must be to promote economic development by promoting investment and entrepreneurial activity in the ICT sector.