The Minister of Communications, Barrister Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu says he has facilitated a draft of a sector strategic plan that will run between 2016 and 2020 in a bid to chart a short term framework for the sector.
Speaking at the formal opening ceremony of the 4th National Council on Communications Technology in Kaduna, the Minister assured that while the Ministry will ensure that the ICT in Government Initiative is sustained, the federal government is doing all it can to broaden broadband penetration in Nigeria.
Barrister Shittu pointed out that through Galaxy Backbone, Government has provided internet access to about 400 MDAs, over 11,000 nodes of wireless LAN to all MDAs at the Federal Secretariat, over 40,000 email addresses for Government officials under the gov.ng & mil.ng domains. “This has ensured that government data is hosted locally on a secured website with data back-up to MDAs and 200 servers hosting 94 MDAs”.
In the area of spectrum management, he said the Ministry of Communications has issued and renewed a total of 668 licenses from November 2015 to September 2016, generating about N500 million as government revenue.
Further speaking on the drive to speed up broadband deployment, the Minister noted that the Federal Government has licensed six slots of the 2.6 MHz Spectrum for the deployment of 4G-LTE services in its efforts to speed up penetration in Nigeria.
He said that although, broadband penetration in Nigeria has reached 20.95 per cent, while the percentage of internet penetration has reached a milestone 47.44 per cent, positioning the country second in the continent, there is still the need to increase Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of $38 billion.
He further disclosed that processes have commenced for the licensing of broadband services on the 5.4 GHz spectrum bank and allocation of 70/80 GHz band (E-Band).
According to the Minister, ICT Innovation and entrepreneurship and the broadening of investment opportunities is one of the key avenues for increasing generated revenue in any economy, and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
While admitting that ICT has become pivotal in the nation’s economy, Barrister Shittu said the challenge is how to harness and leverage the opportunities thrown up by the new economy powered by ICT to address the issues of revenue, investments and cost savings.
Stressing that this is not an impossible feat, he said,” many developed countries around the world, do not rely on the export of any raw materials, but on the development and export of ICT”, adding that Singapore, India and Thailand are examples of developing countries that have leveraged on ICT to make a difference in their economies.