The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, has said that the consistent digital economy policies of the federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari has pushed government quarterly revenues from N51 billion to N 408.7 billion.
As part of activities to celebrate ‘Digital Nigeria Day’ the Minister told a news conference in Abuja yesterday that President Buhari’s approval of policies initiated by his Ministry not only attracted huge investments into the digital economy sector, but that the policies are being copied by Asian and African countries.
“This played a critical role in enabling Nigeria to exit recession. Furthermore, the quarterly revenues also generated for the federal government rose from N51.3 billion to N408.7 billion, through spectrum sales and taxes from the sector,” he said.
He added that the Buhari government crashed data price from 1,200 naira per Giga-Bite to 350 naira following the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, saying “it is now easier for more Nigerians to connect to Internet “,
Pantami said further that:”The ICT sector provided three unprecedented contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in the last 3 years, namely 14.07 per cent in Q1 2020, 17.92 per cent in Q2 2021 and 18.44 per cent in Q2 2022. At each time, these numbers have been the highest ever contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP.
“Also, the ICT sector grew by 14.70 per cent in Q4 2020, making it the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy in the last quarter of 2020 and the only sector to have grown by double digits.”
The minister stressed that more jobs are being created through the Digital Economy while the revenue profiles of the sector continue to increase.
According to him, over 863,372 citizens benefited from digital skills programmes, while the Federal Government signed Memorandum of Understanding with leading global companies like Microsoft, Google and Huawei, to train more than five millions of Nigerians.
“On assumption of office on the 21st of August 2019, the official broadband penetration figures stood at 33.72 per cent and today it is 44.65 per cent, representing close to 13 million new broadband user.
“Similarly, there were 13,823 4G base stations and we now have 36,751, representing a 165.86 per cent increase.
“The percentage 4G coverage across the country also increased from 23 per cent to 77.52 per cent. Additionally, the cost of data has crashed from N1, 200 per GB to about N350, making it easier for Nigerians to connect to the Internet”, Pantami said.
He said further that “Through our efforts, 355,610 direct and indirect jobs were created. Privacy concerns are also being addressed through the newly established Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB).
“The drafting of the data protection bill has reached an advanced stage. The Digital Identity enrolments have also been very successful, with issued National Identification Numbers (NINs) rising from less than 40 million to over 90 million,” the Minister asserted.