The minister of Communication, Dr Adebayo Shittu, said that the federal government is committed to supporting digital economy to bridge the gap between Nigeria and the rest of the world in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The minister, said this at the 2018 Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Expo (ICTEL EXPO) held in Lagos, on Wednesday. The event, which was themed: “Developing Efficiency and Competitiveness in the Digital Age”, was organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
Shittu, who was represented by director of ICT, Mrs Monisola Udoh, said the ministry would support the establishment of companies in the areas of hardware and software by ensuring that they are protected through regulations or other means.
He said: “We will assist them to grow. We have accepted that Nigeria must take the leadership role in Africa’s ICT ecosystem. Therefore, we are amenable to Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) relationships to drive the ministry’s projects, 2018 and beyond must be a year of action.”
Shittu said the ministry would establish a National ICT Park and Exhibition Centre in Abuja and other parts of the country, and proposed the establishment of National ICT Bank and full implementation of National Broadband Plan. He added that the ICT Roadmap 2017 to 2020 and the eGovernment Masterplan, would be implemented to ensure efficiency and competitiveness in the 21st century.
He also said the ministry would collaborate with LCCI to create a platform through ICTEL EXPO, where organisations and startups could pitch their innovative ideas. “These ideas will be passed through a structured selection process to come up with marketable innovations for implementation by the federal government.”
The minister said the ministry was making concerted efforts to ensure the development of ICT in the country as part of the envisaged fourth industrial revolution. He pledged that the government would give top priority to the industry to achieve a vibrant telecoms and ICT sector that would expand the country’s national production frontier across all sectors of the economy.
In his welcome address, president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Babatunde Ruwase, said the time is ripe for the country to harness the benefits of ICT to achieve diversification and sustainable economic recovery.
He noted that ICT is strategic in productivity and efficiency in all sectors of the economy, and that all sectors leverage ICT for optimal performance, thus making ICT the backbone of businesses.
“Nigeria has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its ICT sector over the past two decades, but there are still enormous potentials yet untapped. The EXPO was one of the platforms that would offer opportunities to unlock the potential”, Ruwase added.
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