Nigeria: Govt Targets 50% Broadband Penetration By the End of 2020

28 September 2020

The federal government has said going by its projections, digital economy would contribute more than 45 per cent to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) given that the contributions of the ICT sector to the GDP stands at 17 per cent.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, who disclosed this at the weekend, noted the COVID 19 pandemic is fast-tracking adoption of digital technology in the country.

Pantami spoke while addressing participants at the virtual Nigeria Internet Governance Forum 2020 (vNIGF) with the theme: "Achieving Inclusive Digital Economic Development in the Post-COVID 19 Era".

He disclosed the broadband plan 2020-2025, which focused more on broadband penetration, has started yielding the desired results given that as at July 2020 the level of broadband penetration peaked at 42.0 percent.

Pantami expressed hope that at the end of the year, it will reach at least 50 per cent.

"We are making use of the covid-19 era to achieve digital economy development," the Minister said.

The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, represented by the Director, e-Government Development and Regulation Dr Vincent Olatunji described the event as apt.

Abdullahi said COVID 19 presented a new era whereby "it is important for government to ensure that the infrastructure it need to keep governance up and running are on ground and functioning untill when all government organisations fully come on board".

Abdullahi maintained the campaign to move government businesses online which is eGovernance has now become a reality, adding that there was no other choice than for government to deliver its services online which could only be achieved with corporate internet governance.

The NITDA boss revealed that the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation is set to formally approve and recommend virtual meetings, programmes and workshops for all government officials in the country in order to facilitate digital economy.

"A lot of people see e-governance as a bigger calamity but I see it as a bigger advantage for the sector" the DG said. He added that when other sectors were losing money the IT sector was making money.

He said most government organisations went to sleep during the pandemic but for those in the IT sector; they knew they have no choice than to improve on what they were doing before.

The DG said with the pandemic, working remotely has become the norm even globally "whether you are a developed or developing nation, in the public or private sector you don't have any choice but to use the internet to deliver on your services."

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