FG partners private sector on broadband expansion across Nigeria
Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson who stated this at the event to mark the 2015 World Communication day in Abuja, observed that federal government’s investment in the ICT sector is aimed at changing Nigeria into a Knowledge Economy by 2020, adding that the Ministry is promoting the development and contribution of local content in the ICT space and has facilitated the issuance of Nigerian Content Guidelines for the ICT Sector to stimulate the participation of local players and companies to enable job and wealth creation.
She observed that Telecommunications and ICTs have become pervasive and recognized the world over as drivers of innovation from the purview of social, economic, commercial and cultural development of a country, adding that ICT is a modern tool for wealth creation, employment generation, improving efficiency and increasing productivity for better life and economic empowerment for a sustained socio-economic development of the peoples of the world.
She noted that advancement in technology, especially in Telecommunication and ICTs over the past two decades have helped in accelerating the creativity and innovations being witnessed in the diverse sectors of the nation’s economy.
The minister stressed that since the licensing and deployment of the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) in Nigeria in August 2001, the ICT ecosystem has never been the same again as many businesses and diverse socio-economic activities sprang up while the mobile industry has witnessed a tremendous growth which has earned Nigeria the position of the country with the fastest growing ICT sector in Africa and one of the fastest in the world.
According to her, “Before August 2001, Nigeria had a combined fixed and mobile telephone subscription of just over 400,000 lines since independent in 1960, but in just 14 years after the licensing of the mobile operators, Nigeria’s telephone subscription which is dominated mainly by mobile lines is over 148 million connected lines with a teledensity of 96.8%.
Johnson said that, there has been significant growth in the use of Internet within a short period as Nigeria recorded Internet growth from 11% in 2013 to 52% in 2014 and currently has 29% share of Internet usage in Africa.
She said, “In the past four years, the country has witnessed changes or innovations in the way we conduct or transact business in many sectors of our economy. For example, with the deployment of the electronic wallet (e-wallet) system, Nigerian farmers are now able to make payments for subsidised farm inputs through their mobile phones.
This system ensures effective distribution of farm inputs (such as fertilizers, seeds, herbicides, etc) to genuine farmers, thus resulting in overall increase in production of agricultural products. Farmers also get other relevant information on agriculture via their mobile phones