Nigeria eyes 20% ICT sector contribution to GDP
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
As recession takes a terrific toll on Nigeria’s economy, the government says it is targeting a 20 per cent raise in the contribution of the information communication technology (ICT) sector in coming years as the economic diversification agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari takes firmer foothold.
Minister of Communications Technology, Adebayo Shittu, who spoke during the Institute of Directors (IoD’s) new members’ induction ceremony as Special Guest of Honour/Guest Speaker at Eko Hotel and Suites, said to actualise this ambitious dream, a new roadmap has been drafted with substantial inputs from stakeholders in the sector, adding that the document is awaiting the blessing of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Communications Technology Ministry, Arch. Sunday Echono, at the event held at weekend, the minister said all the challenges, including multiple taxation/ regulation, right of way (RoW), alternative energy sources to power base transmission stations (BTS), and even upgrade of the legal and regulatory frameworks were being fine-tuned so as create a congenial operating environment to attract further foreign direct investments (FDIs).
Shittu, who lamented that the existence of indigenous skills gap, quality of service, cut-throat competition, and siloed approach to e-government implementation, promised that the document pending in the FEC would address some of these challenges.
He said globally, big data, cloud and internet of things (IoTs) are three major factors dominating the table. For Nigeria to take advantage of these new trends, he said the Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to advertise spectrum sale to the remaining five infrastructure companies (Infracos) to complement existing optic fibre cables to deepen broadband penetration in line with the National Broadband Plan of the Federal Government.
According to Shittu, business process outsourcing (BPO) which yearly contributes substantially to the GDP of a country such as India could be developed in the country so that Nigeria could become the sub-regional hub for BPO and earn foreign exchange too.
To achieve the required mileage, the minister said the Federal Government will create ICT centres and innovation hubs across the country to encourage young techpreneurs to come up with solutions that will not only solve social problems but also create wealth for them and address the problem of youth unemployment ravaging the country.
He said the availability, affordability and ubiquity of broadband was central to all these ambitions because the value added services (VAS) subsector of the mobile phone ecosystem is also a goldmine waiting to be fully harnessed.