The Minister of Communication, Dr Adebayo Shittu, says the Federal Government is committed to the digital economy to bridge the gap between Nigeria and the rest of the world in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Shittu said this in Lagos during the 2018 Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication Expo (ICTEL EXPO).
The ICTEL EXPO themed: “Developing Efficiency and Competitiveness in the Digital Age” was organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
Shittu, represented by Mrs Monisola Udoh, Director of ICT, said the ministry would support the establishment of companies in the areas of hardware and software.
“We will assist them to grow. We have accepted that Nigeria must take the leadership role in Africa’s ICT ecosystem.
“Therefore, we are amenable to PPP relationships to drive the ministry’s projects, 2018 and beyond must be a year of action,” he said.
Shittu said the ministry would establish a National ICT Park and Exhibition Centre in Abuja and other parts of the country, and proposed the establishment of National ICT Bank and full implementation of National Broadband Plan.
He said the ICT Roadmap 2017 to 2020 and the eGovernment Masterplan would be implemented to ensure efficiency and competitiveness in the 21st century.
He also said the ministry would collaborate with LCCI to create a platform through ICTEL EXPO, where organisations and startups could pitch their innovative ideas.
“These ideas will be passed through a structured selection process to come up with marketable innovations for implementation by the Federal Government,” he said.
The minister said the ministry was making concerted efforts to ensure the development of ICT in the country as part f the envisaged fourth industrial revolution.
He pledged that the government would give top priority to the industry to achieve a vibrant telecoms and ICT sector that would expand the country’s national production frontier across all sectors of the economy.
Also, Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said the commission was focused on bringing efficient, qualitative and affordable ICT platforms within the reach of every Nigerian.
To achieve this, he said the commission would focus on the implementation of its eight-point agenda, Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the ICT Roadmap.
Danbatta said the strategies would be used to drive synergies that would expand opportunities for disruptive technology innovation and national competitiveness.
“We are talking of knowledge-based economy as against resource-based economy when most information is in digital form,” he said.
Mr Babatunde Ruwase, President of LCCI, said the time was rife for the country to harness the benefits of ICT to achieve diversification and sustainable economic recovery.
He noted that ICT was strategic in productivity and efficiency in all sectors of the economy, and that all sectors leveraged ICT for optimal performance, thus making ICT the backbone of businesses.
“Nigeria has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its ICT sector over the past two decades, but there are still enormous potential yet untapped,” he said.
Ruwase said the EXPO was one of the platforms that would offer opportunities to unlock the potential.