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Nigeria mulls new national ICT policy


NCC Boss, Umar Garba Danbatta

The Federal Government has disclosed plans to formulate a new national policy on Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta, disclosed this in Abuja, at the Africa-China Cooperation in Information Technology for Digital Economy.

He said the new policy would provide a framework for streamlining the ICT sector and enhancing the ability to catalyse and sustain socio-economic development.

The new policy would cover ICT infrastructure, internet and broadband, local content development, legal and regulatory framework.

Danbatta explained that the Federal Government has recognised the important role of ICT in the economy, as well as the socio-economic transformation of the citizenry.

He said the engagement with investors has led to an increase in the number of market players, and unprecedented growth in network.

Tank Li, Managing Director of a Huawei Technologies Nigeria said: “To foster digital transformation of the economy, policies for increasing ICT infrastructure must be prioritized.

“In addition, strategic measures of infrastructure sharing, investment-friendly regulations and preferential taxation policies are needed to reduce site acquisition and broadband deployment costs. This will encourage the application of ICT across industries for the benefit of the whole society.”

Also, Special Adviser to the Vice President on ICT, Lanre Osibona, expressed Federal Government’s readiness to work with Chinese government in the relevant areas.

He stressed that this was necessary to foster innovation in Nigeria and assist the country to move forward, adding that leveraging effectively on digital economy could enhance the fourth industrial revolution in the country.

Osibona disclosed that Nigeria is investing on digital economy because of the inherent benefits, adding that the collaboration with China would deepen digital economy.

He said: “More investments are coming to Nigeria to open business with China. We want to deepen the relationship and drive the collaboration further.

“There has never been a better time to be an African, to be a Nigerian indeed, even as we have a huge number of people who are below the age of 35.

He stressed that statistics in have shown that 65 per cent of Nigerian’s population are below 25 years.

Osibona said Africa must develop its skills’ sector to scale workforce and move away from business-based to knowledge-based outsourcing.

“Data is the future and it has been said that it is the new hope which we must invest in.”

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, said in his address that the revolution in the ICT sector in Nigeria has provided over $32 billion in foreign direct investment in the last 15 years.

He said the Chinese companies have also invested over $16 billion in the ICT ecosystem to fixe assets and facilities and support network operators in the country.

Also speaking, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingian, said a Summit on China-Africa Cooperation Forum would hold in Beijing in September 2018 to build “One Belt, One Road” with a common destiny community.

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