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FG commits to curbing ICT importation losses, sector’s woes

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Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu. Photo/twitter/HMAdebayoShittu

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications has expressed its readiness to curb revenue losses in millions as a result of the importation of technology.
  
The Ministry, which didn’t state the exact amount in figures, said its commitment towards a more robust and vibrant private sector is targeted at achieving 70 percent broadband penetrations by 2023.
  
The Ministry said this at the recently-concluded, 8th edition of Nigerian Internet Governance Forum (NIGF), themed: “Enabling Digital Commonwealth for Development.”
  
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Istifanus Fuktur, said the contribution of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to the economy will improve with broadband penetration.
  
Represented by the Director, ICT, Moni Udoh, he added that the Ministry will provide an enabling environment to solve local problems.
  
Noting that Nigerians should have easy and free access to the internet, he said there must be checks on fraudulent activities and threats to individual data.
  
“Government should provide policies to address the gender gap in broadband penetration. This can be achieved through having regulations for internet access in public places,” Fuktur added.
  
Charting the path towards eliminating multiple state actor regulations, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, called for a one-stop-shop that provides detailed information about all regulatory agencies in the industry.
  
Danbatta, who was represented by Dr. Chidi Diugwu, noted that actions of non-state regulators in the industry are the main problem, which has forced many telcos to stop operation.
 
“Where would we draw the line for regulators? Are we ready for regulatory convergence? The general problem is that agencies want to operate in different silos. There has to be convergence for ease of doing business in the sector,” he added.
  
Stakeholders at the event stressed that communication is a big issue in the sector, as it affects even the end-users, and called for strategic collaboration between players through the provision of competitive laws that foster innovations and policies to achieve maximum benefit in technology.

Danbatta further noted that the NIGF has recorded an increase of 16 million in subscribers between last year and now.
 
“But there is much more to these figures simply because each and every one of these active users is connected to as many others as are socially desired.
  
“We are delighted at this achievement even though now facing corresponding challenges in the sense that there is a lot of impact at all levels of Internet governance,” he added.
  
The NCC assured it will not only deal with ensuing challenges professionally but also hold every Internet user accountable.
  
“The Commission encourages good Internet usage through the establishment of the Internet Industry Code of Practice.
  
“The overarching aim is to become part of the Digital Commonwealth. This defines our collective responsibility in the digital age, and requires forging a common direction towards sustainable Internet governance,” he added.
  
Delivering the Chairman’s theme paper, Akinwale Akinbade, said technology innovation is no longer an option but a necessity and called on the government to develop an intentional structure that will harness common assets.
   
According to him, “We need an executive order for a digital economy to work by making data more accessible to all.”

 
 


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