Omobola Johnson Olubusola, Nigeria's Minister of Communication Technology

By Kokomu Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, has promised to facilitate the development of ICT infrastructure in the country to increase the number of internet users in Nigeria to 70 million by 2015. The number of internet users in the country currently stands at 33.5million.

Johnson disclosed this at a stakeholders’ forum held in Lagos at the weekend. She said the ministry would accelerate the roll-out of broadband infrastructure to increase broadband penetration from 6% to 12% by 2015.

She said the ministry would promote and support initiatives to increase the contribution of ICT from its current 3.5% to 5% of GDP by 2015. (The Indian ICT sector, recognised globally, currently contributes 6% to its national GDP).

She added that the ministry would promote software development and local software innovation by setting up ICT Parks/Digital Havens (equipped with physical/service infrastructure; proximity and access to skilled human capital etc.) and promoting investment in skills required to drive the industry.

Johnson also said the ministry would bridge the internal digital divide in the country by increasing access to ICTs in rural areas and amongst marginalised groups and segments of the population. Network services to rural areas would be assisted through phased subsidisation of bandwidth provision.

The ministry also undertook to boost ICT adoption by initiating programmes that gives businesses and citizens access to government Information via ICTs, supporting initiatives that increase presence of government, businesses, and individuals online.

In addition, the ministry will contribute towards creating an enabling environment by deploying an ICT Cadre in all ministries to improve quality and value delivery in government ICT.

She added that the ministry would also collaborate with other MDAs to create an investor-and business-friendly environment, including accelerating the provision of enabling infrastructure like power.

Regulations would be introduced to increase competitiveness in the market and achieve level playing fields in a broad range of sub-sectors. This will be done by promoting legislation that facilitates and supports the digital economy and information society (cybersecurity, electronic transactions, privacy and intellectual property)

She also disclosed that the ministry would create and implement frameworks to guide the establishment of and governance of collaboration and partnerships between Nigeria and countries with developed IT industries.

The minister, who identified a fragmented IT industry as one of the constraints of the ICT sector, reiterated that the increased participation of Nigerian companies in the ICT Industry will be actively encouraged by the ministry by developing local talent in line with the vision of the Government to build a digital economy and information society.

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