How digital economy sector lifted Nigeria out of recession in 2021

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has revealed that the digital economy sector was highly instrumental in lifting the Nigerian economy out of recession in 2021.

Mohammed, who disclosed this at the weekend, said Nigeria slipped into recession in November 2020 after its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted for the second consecutive quarter.

He, however, said that Quarter 4 of the 2020 Report on the nation’s GDP revealed that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.

He said in the report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the breakdown of the different sectors showed a 14.7 per cent growth rate in the ICT sector.

The minister said the ICT growth rate was greater than the combined 14.21 per cent growth of the second to seventh fastest-growing sectors of the economy in 2020.

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“The telecommunications sector alone recorded a growth rate of 15.90 per cent, representing its highest growth rate in the last 10 years.

“In the NBS report for the Q1 2021, the ICT sector maintained its position as the fastest-growing sector of the economy.

“This, therefore, indicates that the Digital Economy sector has proven to be vital for the diversification of the Nigerian economy,’’ he said.

The minister said the feat was recorded through the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy hinged on eight strategic pillars.

He noted that as part of the efforts aimed at implementing the policy, some projects were implemented nationwide including ICT Innovation Hubs, Digital Skills for Entrepreneurs and Innovators and Community IT Training Centers.

Others were Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centers (TIKC), School Knowledge Centers (SKC), Digital Economy Centers and Emergency Communication Centres (ECC).

The minister also said that during the outgoing year, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy conducted a transparent bidding process for the provision of the 5G Network service.

He said the auction for the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum for the 5G network service was won by Mafab Communications Ltd and MTN Nigeria Plc.

The minister said that the 5G network service would ensure increased capacity download speed by up to 20 times and decrease latency.