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FG pledges more investments in ICT for national development

By on October 3, 2014

The Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson has said government will continue to invest in information and communications technology (ICT), given its  importance in national development.
The minister, who spoke in Lagos at an event organised by Centre  for Values and Leadership (CVL), said the Nigerian population had grown to about 170 million and that ICT has contributed immensely to economic development in all sectors of the economy in sustaining the population figure, hence the need for continued investment in that area, the minister said.
According to her, Gross Domestic Growth (GDP) was close to 7 per cent for a period of five years, but with the re-based economy, the revised GDP for 2013 jumped to $509.9 billion, up from $269.5 billion, and attributed the growth to ICT development in the country, while calling for additional investments in the ICT sector.
“The ICT industry has significant enabling effects on other sectors of the economy, contributing a combined  2.8 per cent added values in the areas of software sales and distribution, device sales and distribution and value added services among others,” the minister said.
She added that the vision of government for the ICT industry is to make ICT the hub for technology activities in Africa.
“But to achieve this, government must first harness and consolidate the growth of the ICT sector, increase the integration of ICTs across all sectors in a manner that supports the diversification of the economy while achieving job and wealth creation,” Johnson said.
She explained that Nigeria was able to develop through ICT because most of the sectors are dominated by telecommunications industry and multinational corporations, and that the ICT subsections are fragmented and consist of small domestic players with approximately 350 companies.
She  noted  that the ICT sector has  achieved the feat of becoming the third fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy, contributing to national development in the area of job creation.
She said government would continue to focus attention on content development, ICT in Governance, Local Content Development, Connect Nigeria and Connect Nigerians, in other to attract more investment to ICT.
For Connect Nigeria, the minister said government is using its broadband plan to implementing a national broadband strategy and roadmap that seeks to increase broadband penetration from six  per cent to 30 per cent by the year 2018, and will grow 3G/LTE Wireless broadband coverage to 80 per cent of the country’s population, and will also increase fixed broadband to 16 per cent of the population, based on fibre by 2018, in order to achieve a minimum download speeds of 1.5 Mbps.
Johnson  added that  government is fast driving cashless initiative in the country through different channels like Point of Sales, Automated Teller Machine, internet banking, among others.
She said total payments in the country are estimated at $695 billion per annum, while cash accounts for over 90 per cent of transactions in terms of volume, and about 60 per cent in total value.
According to her, bank transfers and cheque payments combined make up less than 0.5 per cent in terms of volume and approximately 38 per cent in terms of value.
She therefore, stressed the need for government to also boost cashless transactions across the country  as part of efforts to deepen investments in ICT.


[This Day]