Minister applauds 17.92% ICT contribution to Nigeria’s GDP

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, has applauded the consistent growth and contributions of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which hit 17.92 per cent in the last quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021.

The minister, who gave the figures at the opening of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), stated that information and communication technology had continued on an impressive growth trajectory.

He explained that roundtables and technical workshops on building capabilities for sustainable and inclusive digital transformation in Nigeria had ensured that besides digital service, the percentage increase of ICT contribution to the economy was unprecedented.

He noted that digital access and connectivity have become a necessity, as they play an increasingly vital role in everyday lives of Nigerians and have become key drivers of the fourth industrial revolution.

Pantami, who addressed representatives of ITU, FCDO and other international agencies, embassies and Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, underscored the importance of private sector support towards the attainment of the goals of digital economy.

“The Federal Government understands that the enormous support of the private sector and international organisations are essential in enabling us to realise our goals for Nigeria’s digital economy and this has informed our decision to partner with key international organisations such as ITU and FCDO. The digital age is upon us and all relevant stakeholders must be prepared for the enormous, but inevitable changes that will occur,” he said.

Pantanmi also restated the Federal Government’s commitment to the development of the digital economy and pledged that the government would ensure that all critical infrastructure was made available to facilitate digital connectivity transformation and realisation of a robust digital economy.

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Speaking, Danbatta revealed that government policies in the communications and digital economy sector were already yielding positive results, including a reduction in the access gap, improved digital financial inclusion and a steadily increasing contribution to the country’s GDP.

He noted that the sector had remained the most resilient in the country’s economy while stressing that the commission recognised the need to do more in strengthening the telecommunication sector and improving Internet penetration.

“As of the end of 2021, the estimated population of people living in the underserved areas declined from 31.16 million in 2019 to 28.87 million in 2021, while the access gaps reduced from 227 to 114,” he said.

Danbatta also stated that the NCC would not rest on its oars in supporting Internet penetration and improvement of services, but was prepared to support Internet penetration and digital skills to give concrete expression to policies and initiatives and close identified gaps.

He said: “The commission is quite conscious of the need to do more and considers this as another opportunity to collate feedback and expert opinions of participants. Therefore, all participants are enjoined to contribute freely and recommend measures that will further support Nigeria in meeting its connectivity target and develop a robust digital economy.

“We look forward to the outcome of the deliberations and expect feedback that will deepen the conversations on policies and initiatives for digital access and connectivity in Nigeria.”

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