By Praise Necherem
Minister of Communications, Dr Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Shittu has restated Federal government commitment to ensuring that Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector realised its full potentials as viable alternative to the economy’s diversification.
Shittu spoke in Awka, Anambra state during the second Phase Sensitisation Workshop on National ICT roadmap, themed, “The Role of the Private Sector in the Implementation of Nigeria‘s ICT Roadmap”. He disclosed that Nigeria now boasts of more subscribers than the United Kingdom with over 152 million active telephone lines. He also revealed that 97 million Nigerians were now connected to the internet, which places the country on 170% tele density.
According to the minister, the present foreign direct investment of the country had exceeded $42billion through the ICT. He explained that the purpose of ICT, apart from providing services and convenience, was to increase the revenue base of all societies in the country.
He said, “For Nigeria alone, the present foreign direct investment has exceeded $42billion and you know what that means to the economy. The implication is that such huge sum could have been lost without the ICT and if it had not come, you know how many jobs that could have been lost or unavailable, and you know the ripple effect on the larger economy.”
Shittu further explained that the workshop afforded stakeholders and participants firsthand knowledge on the contents of the ICT roadmap and their respective roles. “It creates the opportunity for cross-fertilisation of ideas and build enduring partnerships to achieve a virile ICT sector,” he added.
Also speaking, the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, said his administration had recorded much achievement through the ICT. Obiano, represented by the secretary to the state government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, attributed the increase in the state internal generated revenue from N475million to 1.7billion to the introduction of ICT to the system.
He assured that his government would leverage on the outcome of the workshop to see how it could attract more investors to drive ICT innovation in the state. On his part, the Program Consultant, Abdul-Rakim Adejola said the program focused on how it could be generalised to measure key performance indices across all sectors for greater efficiency.
The workshop had as its participants, major ICT players from government and the private sector in the South East.