The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has applauded consistent growth in ICT contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which hit 17.92 % in the last quarter of 2020, and in the first quarter of 2021, and continued on an impressive trajectory.
A press statement by Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Reuben Muoka, Tuesday, quoted theminister as giving the figures at the opening of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU’s) – (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) FCDO Roundtable, and Technical Workshop on Building Capabilities for Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Transformation in Nigeria.
According to Pantami, “this percentage is unprecedented, and this is only the contribution of ICT to our GDP without calculating digital services.”
The minister said digital access and connectivity have become a necessity, as they play an increasingly vital role in our everyday lives and have become key drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He assured his audience, including representatives of ITU, FCDO, and other international agencies, embassies, and the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, that the “Federal Government understands that enormous private sector support, as well as support from International Organisations, are essential to enable us to realise our lofty goals for Nigeria’s digital economy and this has informed our decision to partner with key international organisations like the ITU and FCDO.
“The digital age is upon us, and all relevant stakeholders must be prepared for the enormous but inevitable change that will occur.”
The minister also assured of the federal government’s committed to the development of the digital economy, with a promise that “the Nigerian government will ensure that all critical infrastructure is made available for the facilitation of digital connectivity, transformation and ultimately, the realisation of a robust digital economy”.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Garba Danbatta revealed that the federal government’s policies in the communications and digital economy sector are already yielding positive results including a reduction in the access gap, improved digital financial inclusion and a steadily increasing contribution to the GDP.
“As of the end of 2021, the estimated population of people living in the underserved areas declined from 31.16 million in 2019 to 28.87 million in 2021, and the access gaps reduced from 227 to 114,” he said.