Speech by President Muhammadu Buhari at the launch of the National Policy on 5G (Fifth Generation) Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy held Thursday, January 27, 2022, in Abuja.
I am pleased to launch the National Policy on Fifth Generation Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy.
2. The Policy was presented and approved at the Federal Executive Council meeting on the 8th of September 2021, following a robust debate.
3. The approval of the Policy is in line with the commitment of this administration to supporting the digital economy as an enabler for the diversification of our national economy.
4. We started this journey with the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy in November 2019 and have also launched a number of policies to strengthen our digital economy, including the Nigerian National Broadband Plan and the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.
5. The Digital Economy sector has had a significant positive impact on our overall economy and this was quite evident as we put measures in place to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
6. Specifically, the Information and Communications Technology sector played a prime role in enabling our economy to swiftly exit the recession that was triggered by the pandemic.
7. The GDP Report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the ICT sector was the fastest growing sector in the fourth quarter of 2020 and entire year 2020, recording double-digit growth rates of 14.70% and 12.90% respectively.
8. The sector also recorded a 17.92% contribution to our GDP in the second quarter of last year- this was its highest ever contribution. All these impressive and significant achievements have justified our efforts to support the growth of our digital economy.
9. The agreement of the National Economic Council to peg the cost of the Right of Way at N145 per linear metre was made in 2013, but was only implemented in late 2019, after our intervention.
10. Furthermore, I gave directives to security agencies to protect our Critical National Infrastructure. These are a few examples of how we are creating an enabling environment for investors and have shown our commitment towards promoting Nigeria’s digital economy.
11. The process of developing of our National 5G Policy has been painstaking, inclusive and focused. We commenced the process with 5G trials in some selected locations in November 2019.
12. Multi-sectoral stakeholders then deliberated on the report of the trials to ensure that health, security and other concerns were effectively addressed in developing a Policy that suits our country. The National 5G Policy will position Nigeria to harness the potentials of 5G technologies to further develop the economy and improve the indices of well-being in the nation.
13. 5G technologies offer a number of benefits that can support virtually every sector of our economy. For instance, it can enhance connectivity, improve healthcare, support education, foster smart cities and boost agriculture, among other advantages that it gives. It will also support security institutions with real-time communication.
14. 5G technology is significantly faster than earlier digital technologies and it provides near real-time communication. This can play a key role in boosting our efforts towards enhancing security across the nation. It will enable our security institutions to effectively deploy robotics, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality to address any security challenges that we face. To this end, I hereby direct all the security institutions to immediately leverage 5G when deployed in order to beef up security in the country.
15. The National 5G Policy includes a deployment plan to ensure that major cities across the country benefit from the technologies. It also seeks to make 5G a major driver of our economy, a catalyst for smart cities in the country and a platform for the creation of jobs that support our digital economy. We assure investors that we will continue to provide an enabling environment for their businesses to be very successful as we roll-out this technology.
16. I have earlier directed the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to supervise the implementation of the Policy, being done by the Nigerian Communications Commission with the support of other government institutions. This will enable us to take full advantage of the opportunities that 5G provides for our economy, security and well-being as a Nation.
17. I use this opportunity to applaud the commitment and consistency of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim, towards the delivery of the mandate of developing Nigeria’s digital economy. The progress has been unprecedented and truly commendable. 18. I also commend the NCC, National Information Technology Development Agency and all other stakeholders across the digital economy ecosystem for their support for the sector.
19. I hereby direct the Minister to oversee a multi-stakeholder implementation of the Policy and I also urge every stakeholder to ensure compliance and I look forward to the successful implementation of this important National Policy.20. Thank you for your kind attention and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.