The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, at the weekend in Gombe, said Nigeria’s march towards attaining 95 per cent digital literacy in 2030, as contained in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, now looks more promising than ever.
Pantami, who presided over the graduation of participants at a two-week Digital Job Creation Training for the North-East in Gombe, which was facilitated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said “the reason we train citizens is because digital skills are no longer considered a luxury, but necessities required in any business you do. If you want to be successful, you need to have digital skills.’’
According to the Minister, “ICT is not just an independent sector but the key enabler of all other sectors today. It enables opportunities in education, in health, in agriculture, in security, in defence, in manufacturing, in trade, in investment and in industry.”
He, therefore, urged the participants to adopt innovation-driven enterprises and to utilize the training they have received to improve their economic status and make Nigeria a better place.
“We have to utilise ICT in order to make our country a better place. We must use ICT even for our personal economic benefits amongst others. Therefore, we want to encourage you not to waste your time online but rather to use the knowledge you have acquired to make Nigeria a better place and at the same time, derive many economic benefits from it,” he said.
The Minister highlighted that recent reports of the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, about the performance of each sector of the economy, which indicated an unprecedented ICT’s contribution of 18.44 per cent to the economy, as very heart-warming about the prospects of the industry meeting with the expectations of the relevant policies.
“So, by implication, we set a record last year and we surpassed that record this second quarter of 2022 without involving the digital services. Only the ICT sector contributed 18.44 per cent, which can be attributed to the policies which we have introduced in the sector,” he said.
The minister, while commenting on the performance of the sector, noted that the growing contributions of the ICT sector to the GDP is as a result of the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, to the development of the digital economy.
He said the diligent implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria, stakeholder engagement and creation of an enabling environment have all played an important role in this achievement.
According to him, the support of President Buhari, has contributed immensely to the impressive developments in the sector.
“The unprecedented contribution of ICT to Nigeria’s GDP can also be attributed to the dynamic and results-oriented leadership of the sector. The GDP report has shown how critical the ICT sector is to the growth of our country’s digital economy and, by extension, the general economy.
“The minister congratulates all stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem for this cheering news. He also renewed his call to all sectors to take advantage of the Federal Government’s new focus on the digital economy to enable and improve their processes through the use of ICTs. This would enhance the output of all the sectors of the economy and boost Nigeria’s GDP,” Pantami stressed.