Ministry unveils ICT roadmap, seeks increased private sector participation
. Shittu laments poor infrastructure, slow local content growth
The Ministry of Communications has unveiled the Nigerian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Roadmap 2017-2018, with a clarion call on for improved participation of the private sector in the development of the industry.
Unveiling the roadmap in Lagos, on Tuesday, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said it became necessary to review the current status for greater prospects.
Themed, “The role of the private sector in the implementation of the Nigeria ICT Roadmap,” Shittu said the implementation of the ICT Roadmap cannot be more opportune than now that government is working assiduously toward sustainable economic recovery and growth with the private sector as a key player.
The Minister said: “The ICT sector Roadmap, which is being unveiled today is conceived as an implementation framework focusing on five pillars, namely: ICT industry and infrastructure development; governance; policy; legal and regulatory environment; capacity building and cross cutting issue such as information security and innovation.
“This event is important as it provides opportunity for us to share our collective vision regarding the developmental trajectory of the ICT sector in the medium term. As the engine of growth of economy, the private sector was pivotal to the consultation that culminated in the development of the Nigeria ICT roadmap.
“It is even more critical now that we are at the stage of implementation. So this event is therefore a milestone in our desire to reposition and harness the inherent potentials and benefit of the information and communication sector for national growth and development.”
Shittu further explained that the ICT revolution that commenced over a decade ago has indeed impacted the national economy positively.
“This is evident in its significant contribution to the gross domestic product from 0.6 per cent in 2001 to 9.8 per cent in 2014. Foreign Direct Investment made by telecommunication operators, service providers and other stakeholders from 2001 till date is in excess of $32billion.
“The sector is essential for the proper functioning of many other key sectors of the economy and government included agriculture, commerce, banking and finance, health and transportation.”
He identified some challenges impeding growth in the sector, including, “…inadequate local content, poor infrastructure leading to the lack of access by many Nigerians, poor skills to leverage ICT opportunities and lack of confidence in the use of ICT.”
With regard to solving them, he reiterated government’s commitment to turning the ICT sector into a “cash cow” to boost economic growth.
“Working with my team, we promised to ensure prompt and quality service delivery. We undertook to mobilise communication technology for final growth and development as well as wealth creation for our investors.
“To deliver on these promises, and for Nigerians to benefit from ICT, my aspiration is to leverage business and ICT sector, and to generate two million jobs through creation of innovation hubs across the nation.
“We are convinced that the Nigeria ICT sector will continue to be an investment haven for forward looking investors. Those who invested in the past and responded to government priority focus of market deregulation have had no regrets. Keying into the ICT roadmap is definitely a right step in the right direction,” he said.