ICT experts advocate stronger focus on Nigeria’s digital economy

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) have advocated for a stronger focus and holistic approach to shape Nigeria’s digital economy future amid the prevailing economic challenges caused by the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola gave the charge at a virtual meeting to discuss the Socio-Economic and Political Impact of COVID-19 on the Telecom and ICT Sector in Nigeria.

While expressing appreciation to the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, for matching his words with actions by getting President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for the security of all telecommunications infrastructure nationwide, Teniola expressed hope that further clarifications would be made about this development in the light of the confusion on whether the Executive Order on CNI is still expected considering this approval.

He commended Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for their show of support to the Minister in moving the industry to an enviable trajectory which can be explained by the recent 14.07% Q12020 contribution of the Nigerian telecom and ICT sector to the country’s GDP.

While thanking the Virtual meeting’s sponsors such as the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC, NITDA, VDT Communications, Rack Center, eStream Networks, and Vodacom, Teniola was hopeful that the report that will come out after the virtual deliberations would be used to improve the investment climate of the telecom/ICT industry.

Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, in his contribution, observed that even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, online services providers were enjoying the best of times.

“We should start looking beyond the crisis. We should focus on how to shape post-COVID-19 lives. Shaping the future of the digital economy should also be the focus. The best we can do for the industry at this moment is to identify the opportunities in this crisis,” Inuwa said.

The NITDA DG stated that the future of the Telecom/ICT industry can only be guaranteed when the entrepreneurial opportunities of Nigerians are identified, explaining that the ICT Hubs across the country can help in this regard.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Galaxy Backbone Limited, Prof. Mohammed Bello Abubakar while contributing to the virtual conversation noted that the ICT sector has positively impacted on the lives of Nigerians during this COVID-19 pandemic.

He cited the recent increase in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) brought about by the contribution of  14.07% by the ICT sector, a development the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy described as unprecedented.

In his contribution during the virtual conversation, Managing Director of Rack Centre, a leading Nigerian Tier III Carrier Neutral Data Centre, Engr. Tunde Coker said there was the need for the country to begin to target significant foreign exchange earnings, adding that Nigeria has the potentials of becoming Africa’s digital hub.

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