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Lagos seeks expansion of ICT

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The Commissioner for Science and Technology in Lagos State, Adebiyi Mabadeje has stressed the need for the federal government to accelerate measures in the country towards providing access to Information Communication Technology ( ICT) services to more Nigerians.

“We are today the fastest growing telecoms market in Africa but while celebrating the growth and substantial achievements of the telecoms sector in Nigeria, it is important for us to be conscious of the digital divide that still exists in our country,” he said.

Mabadeje contended that there were still millions of Nigerians with limited or no access to ICT services.

“It is therefore my onion that stakeholders in the country will fashion out a plan that will assist in bridging the gap between the urban and rural Nigerians,” he said.

He spoke at 2012 edition of the annual Nigerian Telecoms Development Lecture, organised by Logica Media Group in Lagos recently, arguing that although telecoms sector in Nigeria has witnessed progress in more than a decade, much still needs to be done to increase ICT penetration.

Explaining ICT initiatives being undertaken in Lagos State, the commissioner said the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, had been supportive in ensuring that “we leverage on ICT as a tool for economic development and social change in delivering good government. We have put in place, well-structured ICT services in virtually every sector of the economy including land documentation and processing,. Electronic document management, automated Electronic Tax Clearance Certificate (e-tcc) and the success of our autoreg platform cannot be over-emphasized.”

According to him, transaction businesses with agencies of government in Lagos State were gradually becoming less paper-dependent.

“Our accounting and treasury units have been computerised, paying your taxes, levies and dues area now, to a large extent, done electronically. Because we believe that our citizens are our clients and the more efficient and transparent our services are, the more we enjoy their support and patronage.

“To this end, therefore, our reforms are on-going to ensure that our businesses are done in a manner that honesty and integrity become the watchword,” he said.

The commissioner described investment in ICT as key in the country’s planning for future economic and social development.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Logica Media Group, Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, has raised the critical role of ICT in today’s business world, while noting that further growth in the ICT industry geared towards engendering ICT access to all and sundry, especially in the rural areas, required the contributions of all stakeholders in the country.

“We are at a point in the history of ICT where all economies around the world are being driven by ICT. Nigeria must also be consistently versatile in the global revolution by ensuring that access to basic ICT services and broadband services is extended to everywhere in the country,” he said.

Ajiboye added that ICT has far-reaching positive effects on any economy that pays priority to its deployment to drive activities both in the private and public sectors.

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