Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology has said all hands are on deck to position Nigeria as a key player in the digital age.
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology of Nigeria”]According to the CommTech Minister, broadband penetration has been constantly reinforced by global statistics that reiterate that for every 10% increase in broadband penetration, there is a commensurate increase of 1.3% in the GDP of a country.[/blockquote]
Omobola said this at the West African Information and Communication Technology Congress (WAFICT) organised by IT & Telecom Digest, an event that brought critical ICT stakeholders together to deliberate on broadband for transformational development for the benefit of Nigeria.
‘’We are in a hurry to digitalize Nigeria to ensure the provision of affordable, ubiquitous access to broadband for the benefit of all Nigerians”, according to Omobola, who was represented by Efem Nkanga, SA Media to the Minister.
During her presentation she highlighted the benefits of broadband saying broadband is a key enablers of socio-economic growth and a knowledge-based economy while noting that broadband penetration is key to the overall development of economies .
According to the CommTech Minister, broadband penetration has been constantly reinforced by global statistics that reiterate that for every 10% increase in broadband penetration, there is a commensurate increase of 1.3% in the GDP of a country.
A recent UN report also disclosed that mobile broadband penetration is gaining grounds with a 20% growth recorded this year alone in the rate of worldwide users, she said.
The event with theme ’Empowering peoples, governments and industries in West Africa with technologies and solutions to transform societies’ made the Minster refresh the minds of attendees as she highlighted the Broadband road map plan set by the Federal government of Nigeria
‘’President Goodluck Jonathan in a bid to make Nigeria a reference point in inclusive development has set the pace by facilitating the development of a National Broadband Strategy and Roadmap for Nigeria. The Ministry through the Broadband Council is currently overseeing the implementation of the Plan with a target of a five-fold increase in broadband penetration in Nigeria by 2017″, she added.
She explained that In Nigeria today, the ICT sector is the 4th pillar of the economy in terms of its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector is the fastest growing and currently contributes 9.44% to GDP
‘’To fulfill the vision of government for Nigeria in the area of ICT, the ministry is focusing on four priority areas- Infrastructure Development, Inclusive Development, Local Content and IT in Government and broadband is a key tool in achieving these priorities”, Omobola added calling on investors to invest in this opportunity as the Broadband plans offers enomorous growth potentials.
‘’Nigeria’s Broadband Plan shows a clear investment path, and we need private investors to join hands together with us through significant collaborative investments to accelerate Broadband build’’.
‘’In almost every sector, broadband is playing key defining roles be it in education, health, agriculture, innovation, trade and investments, e-commerce’’, according to the Minister.
‘’No sector is immune to the transformational benefit of broadband, but enabling Broadband access is not cheap. Considering the huge sums we anticipate the National Broadband Plan will require for complete implementation, we need more investments’’.
‘’Though FDI of $32bn has been attracted into the telecoms sector since the beginning of liberalization till date, we still need more private sector investments to achieve our desired objectives in the area of broadband penetration’’.
According to her, technology evolves at the speed of light, and new technologies are springing up faster than one can play catch-up.
‘’There is a global hunger for more bandwidth as more and more people get connected, thus putting more pressure on networks and more requirements for fast, affordable connectivity. Apart from the level of demand, the distribution of the available bandwidth resources to end users poses some challenge’’
‘’ Government is making efforts at incentivising the private sector to invest in broadband distribution even to areas where the commercial viability of such venture is not guaranteed in the short run”, she adds.