The Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, agencies under the Ministry and industry stakeholders have re-emphasized their unflinching commitment to support the drive by the Federal Government to leverage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to transform Nigeria into a fully digital economy.
The renewed commitment was made at the maiden edition of Digital Nigeria Day (DND) 2020 hosted by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy at the NCC’s Communications and Digital Economy Complex, Mbora, Abuja on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
Addressing industry stakeholders at the event with the theme: ‘Digital Economy: A New Frontier for Economic Prosperity’, Pantami stated that, following the name change of the ministry to reflect the new vision of the Federal Government for a truly digital economy, the Ministry, in collaboration with its agencies and industry players, have worked tirelessly to develop policy document in this direction.
The Minister cited the World Economic Forum (WEF) report, which documents the huge economic potentials of digital economy, adding that based on this, the Ministry has developed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 and several other policy initiatives to ensure effective digitisation of the Nigerian economy both from public and private sector perspectives.
Pantami, who listed the various initiatives his Ministry has embarked upon in the last one year said “Our efforts have culminated in impressive 17 per cent ICT contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the second quarter of 2020,” adding that this is a testament to ongoing effective implementation of the digital economy policies already put in place.
He said some of the challenges in the industry are being collaboratively addressed with emphasis on the provision of digital skills to Nigerians and ensuring the citizens are protected online in line with our mandates as a Ministry.
He, however, stated that the digital economy as s sector could be contributing as much as 45 per cent to GDP, considering that services in other sectors are being digitised leveraging on the ICT infrastructure.
While thanking the agencies under the Ministry and industry stakeholders for their support so far, the Minister restated his commitment to continue to work in synergy with relevant stakeholders across Federal, State and Local governments towards effectively transforming Nigeria into a truly digital economy.
In their goodwill messages, the heads of agencies under the Ministry, including the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; Chief Executive Officer, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar; Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Abdullahi; Director General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Dr. Aliyu Abubakar; Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Dr. Abimbola Alale and the Director General, Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), Dr. Adebayo Adewusi, restated their resolve to work with the Ministry towards achieving the digital economy vision of the Federal Government.
In particular, Danbatta, being the Co-Chair, organising committee for the event, thanked the Minister for his pragmatic leadership, which is enhancing the performance of the ICT industry in Nigeria. “We are confident that achieving targets of the digital economy policy and broadband policy will help us achieve increased digital access, reduce the digital divide, enhance digital culture and ultimately ensure the realisation of a knowledge-based economy for the country,” Danbatta said.
Representatives of industry associations such as the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Certified ICT Manufacturers of Nigeria (CIMON) delivered their goodwill messages, promising their continuous support to government initiatives and policies towards driving the frontiers of digital economy for Nigeria’s socio-economic prosperity.