Mike Etta Bisong
Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has restated the federal government’s commitment to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship programmes in information and communications technology (ICT) through the development of a ubiquitous broadband infrastructure in the country.
Mrs. Johnson who gave the assurance at a panel discussion on “Policies Enabling Access, Growth and Development on the Internet” at the just concluded 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held in Istanbul, capital of Turkey, hinted that Nigeria has unveiled a National Broadband Plan and is currently implementing the plan to accelerate broadband penetration in the country by a five-fold increase over the 2012 penetration rate by 2017.
The IGF is an annual forum where all stakeholders gather to discuss issues that impact on development and governance of the internet. The conference with the theme, ‘Connecting Continents for Enhanced multi-stakeholder internet governance’, drew participants from across the globe.
According to the minister, Nigeria is pushing for an increase in broadband penetration to facilitate innovation and enable a digitalised economy.
The nation’s ICT boss, in recognition of the huge potential of information and communications Technology (ICTs) to create a developed economy, said Nigeria, as an emerging market is applying and promoting an ICT strategy in all facets geared at facilitating its rapid growth and development.
Nigeria is aggressively developing its ICT sector to drive national development in all sectors-agriculture, manufacturing, health, education, she said.
Mrs. Johnson identified inadequate power infrastructure as one of the key challenges impeding deployment of communications infrastructure rollout in Nigeria, but stressed that federal government was working to address the issue.
Expected benefits of broadband penetration in Nigeria, according to her, include economic and social development leading to increased healthcare, education and literacy, security and safety, among others, as well as improved efficient and effective economic activities that accelerate growth.