FG, Private Sector Support Digital Economy
Regulators and operators in the Information and Communications Technology sector have highlighted the importance of technology to the development of the economy. Speaking at the 2018 ICTEL Expo hosted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they said that advanced economies all over the world were driven by technology.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who was represented at the event by the Director of ICT in the ministry, Mrs Monisola Udoh, said that the success of any venture without technology was uncertain. According to him, the Federal Government is committed to promoting a digital economy by bridging the gap between Nigeria and the rest of the world in Information and Communication Technology.
He said, “This Government is working hard to ensure that all needed infrastructure will be in place for the desired growth in the sector, thus helping the national development agenda.” The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, while delivering his goodwill message said that there was evidence that broadband could accelerate economic development and boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Mrs Felicia Onwuegwuchulam, said with telecoms’ contribution to Nigeria’s GDP currently at over nine per cent, it is expected that ubiquitous broadband access would deepen this contribution. “In other words, more access to telecoms/broadband access means more contribution to the GDP but less access means lower contribution to the GDP. With better and wider access coverage, the contributions of telecoms to the GDP will go from nine per cent to a little over 10 per cent.”
The EVC said the realisation of the importance of broadband to digital life, and its benefits to individuals and corporate organisations informed the decision by the current leadership at the NCC to prioritise broadband penetration.
He said the ongoing licensing of wholesale infrastructure companies in geo-political zones to complement existing infrastructure on an Open Access model basis, the development of framework on spectrum trading, formulation of policy on national roaming and active engagement of stakeholders and state government to remove impediments to telecoms infrastructure deployment were some of the regulatory interventions aimed at accelerating the digital ecosystem.
“Closely linked to these are other consumer-centric interventions being made by the regulator to make our digital ecosystem worthwhile for telecom consumers. This includes the 2442 Do Not Disturb facility for opting out of unsolicited messages, the popularisation of the NCC toll-free Number 622 as second-level complaints by services providers, among others.” The President, LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, said the benefits of ICT should be harnessed to drive the optimum performance in all sectors of the economy.
According to him, technology is the backbone of many businesses and it is evident in electronic banking transactions, retail businesses, manufacturing and the health sector, among others. Ruwase said the chamber, through the expo, was providing a credible platform to advance the opportunities and linkages in the world of the ICT. “We are committed to the building of economic and commercial ties across all subsectors and players in the ICT sector,” he said. In his keynote address, the Managing Director, Computer Warehouse Group, Mr James Agada, stated that technology was inevitable and would continue to disrupt every sector of the economy. Addressing the theme, ‘Developing Efficiency and Competitiveness in the Digital Age’, he explained that today’s technology emerged from traditional ways of doing things.