The minister of communications and digital economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the contribution of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2021 has rise to 17.92 per cent.
He stated this after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the ‘Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product Report’ for Q2 2021 last week. The ICT sector contribution to the total real GDP in Q2 2021 was 20.54 per cent higher than its contribution a year earlier and in the preceding quarter, in which it accounted for 14.91 per cent.
“This is the highest contribution of ICT to the GDP and is truly unprecedented,”’ Pantami stated. According to the NBS, „Nigeria’s GDP grew by 5.01 per cent(year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2021, marking three consecutive quarters of growth following the negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.“
The negative growth was triggered by COVID-19, not only in Nigeria but also globally. Even within that period, the ICT sector in Nigeria continued to experience positive growth. The oil sector contributed 7.42 per cent to total real GDP in Q2 2021, down from figures recorded in the preceding quarter, where it contributed 9.25 per cent. The non-oil sector grew by 6.74 per cent and contributed 92.58 per cent to the GDP.
The minister notes that the growing contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP is as a result of the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to the development of the digital economy. The 16 national policies developed by the ministry, the 1,667 projects and programmes, the large-scale digital skills and general capacity building efforts, stakeholder engagement and creation of an enabling environment have all played an important role in this achievement.
The support of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has contributed immensely to the impressive developments in the sector. The unprecedented contribution of ICT to Nigeria’s GDP can also be attributed to the dynamic and results-oriented leadership of the sector, which has been acknowledged and appreciated by a wide spectrum of the stakeholders in the sector, both locally and internationally.
For example, Mr Houlin Zhao, the secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) commended the minister for Nigeria‘s “accelerated digital transformation”. Similarly, the chairman of the United States-Nigeria Council (USNC) also commended him for the “commitment to diversifying Nigeria’s great economy through digital technology and innovation.”
The GDP Report has shown how critical the ICT sector is to the growth of our country’s digital economy and, by extension, the general economy. The honourable minister renews his call to all sectors to take advantage of the federal government’s new focus on the digital economy to enable and improve their processes through the use of ICTs. This would enhance the output of all the sectors of the economy and boost Nigeria’s GDP.