The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Danbatta encouraged by the level of ICT deployment and contribution to GDP
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- As Buhari unveils the Digital Economy Policy and directs compliance with National Data Protection Policy.

- FG should address obstacles to expansion of infrastructure, Opeke.

- FG is working on Executive Order to protect ICT infrastructure, Pantami.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has applauded the spate of ICT use in Nigeria and ICT contribution to the Gross Domestic  Product (GDP) which is currently at 13.86 percent of the GDP.

Danbatta stated this today (28/11/2019) at the 12th eNigeria Conference organised by the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), an agency of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the supervising Ministry of NCC.

The conference which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari who unveiled the Digital Economy Strategy and Action Plan for Digital Nigeria. Danbatta also noted that he is hopeful as the conference plans, that the outcome will help galvanise both public and private sector interests in deepening the digital transformation process, crystallize home-grown innovations to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria, and unlock the digital economy we all desire.

While unveiling the Digital Economy Policy President Muhammadu Buhari agreed with Danbatta that the current contribution of ICT to GDP underscored the beauty of diversification of the economy. The President urged agencies in the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to sustain the tempo of activities to grow the economy. The President also said that the Ministry should ensure the sensitization of the public about the National Data Protection Policy.

The keynote speaker, Ms Funke Opeke, CEO Mainone Cable, called on the FG to produce a comprehensive and clear ICT policy and strategy, institute policy for robust infrastructure development and remove all obstacles to infrastructure expansion by operators such as strangulating taxes and regulations in order to heighten job creation potentials of digital transformation. Opeke told the President and other guests that Nigeria "must ensure that global players in the country domesticate technology so that more jobs are created" and to ensure Nigerians do not end up as consumers of imported technological products.

Opeke advised that Nigeria needs to implement the right type of incentives to ensure that young technologically innovative companies can survive. She also recommended that digital economy offices should be established in each geographical zone of the country. She also affirmed that digital economy can add two trillion naira to the nation's economy in the next four years.

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami  spoke about the achievements of the Ministry since he assumed office. This include the commissioning of more Emergency Communication Centres (ECC), all of which were constructed by the NCC based on the directive of the Federal Government. Pantami also stated that about 300 NIPOST structures in the country will be transferred to facility management entities for recontruction and use to generate money for government.

Pantami also recalled that Ministry is in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Entrepreneurship Accelerated Program. Pantami also recalled the synergy between the Ministry and NCC which lead to the deactivation or proper registration of about 9 million invalidly registered SIM cards, many of which were used to undermine the nation's security by criminal elements.

The conference plenary was also attended by the President of Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Chairman Senate Committee on Communications, a representative of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Governor of Nasarawa State, His Excellency Abdullahi Sule, heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government, and representatives of many international agencies.