9 August 2017

Nigeria: Osinbajo Reiterates Government's Plan to Increase Internet Access

Abuja — Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed government's determination to increase access to Internet and broadband services.

This will be through effective implementation of the ICT development blueprint and National Broadband Plan (NBP) for the next two to three years to address the obvious gap.

He also called for a well thought-out, purpose driven and well-articulated effort for the proposed Nigeria smart cities project.

He said the global smart city technology market is expected to grow from $10 billion annually in 2016 to more than $30.5 billion by 2020.

Declaring open the 2017 Smart Cities Nigeria summit yesterday in Abuja, Osinbajo observed that the 21st century has seen developments in ICT and telecommunications services that give people liberty for more choice, more freedom and opportunities and had opened up new avenues for economic growth and social well-being.

He noted that the world is experiencing a shift from the traditional ways of doing things to a more ICT-driven approach where government and city administrators are forced to use technology to shape policy, make informed decisions and deliver quality public services.

The Acting President who stressed the need to adopt digital technology to enhance performance, reduce costs and resources consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with citizens adding that efforts will be made giving the resources available, to increase funding for ICT infrastructural developments in next year's budget to help drive all these initiatives.

He stated that smart cities initiative for Nigeria will, among others, take a critical look at the preparedness, unique challenges and emerging solutions necessary for a sustainable Smart city initiative for the country.

Osinbajo assured that Federal Government plans to come into the technology space and help transform the sector by providing the necessary infrastructure and enabling environment adding that government plans to encourage innovative technologies to spearhead Smart domestic production, Smart Agriculture, Smart e-government & Health delivery, Smart Mobility, Smart Energy & Environment, Smart policing, and indeed Smart cities.

Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, said that Nigeria is wrestling with both an infrastructure gap, after years of underinvestment, and an innovation gap from poor innovation performance in the business sector over the years.

He observed that that going smart is a huge challenge giving the lack of critical infrastructure in the country stressing that the epileptic power for instance is a major challenge for any smart city initiative for the country.

Also, the Federal Government is planning to turn Oyo State in the South west part of the country into its ICT and Technology park in the mould of the internationally-renowned Silicon Park in California, United States.

Shittu, spoke at a media parley in Ibadan to herald the first- ever Oyo State ICT Trade Fair, slated for Nov. 28 to 30, 2017.

He, however, tasked the organisers to plan well for the fair so that they could deliver the best ICT Expo come November this year, saying "to fail to plan, is to plan to fail."

Meanwhile, the acting President has expressed surprise at the news report quoting Chief Ayo Adebanjo as saying he described those agitating for restructuring as political jobbers.

In a statement made available by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, the Acting President said the video, audio tapes and full text of his speech at the National Security summit organised last week by the Department of State Services, DSS are publicly available.

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