Over 22 institutions in Nigeria, made-up of 18 universities, and six polytechnics as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), drawn evenly from the six geopolitical zones in the country, have benefited from a Federal Government’s broadband infrastructure projects designed to accelerate the Nigeria Digital Economy efforts.
At the unveiling of the projects driven by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, who presided over the event, said the projects underscores the importance of broadband connectivity and access as central to the accomplishment of the targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 for a digital Nigeria, and that the project is in line with the mandates of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and economic diversification.
Pantami, who was joined by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Mohammed Bello at the event, disclosed that the key infrastructure being provided for the project, comprise of broadband infrastructure for tertiary institutions of learning; broadband infrastructure for MSME; distribution of 6,000 e-pad tablets, in addition to provision of broadband connectivity to 20 markets as a pilot.
He said the interest in supporting the MSMEs is justified by their current contribution of more than half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) prior to COVID-19 outbreak, and now constitute 96.7 per cent of entire businesses in the country, and therefore, “any effort to develop our economy without bringing such important sector into the equation will amount to efforts in futility.”
In their comments, NCC’s Akande and Danbatta, corroborated that the project will fast-track and enhance the ongoing efforts of the NCC’s to deepen connectivity towards achieving the targeted broadband penetration of 70 per cent by 2025.
NCC’s Chairman, Prof. Akande, assured of the commitment of the Commission in completing the projects, which will add the necessary fillip to achieving the major objectives spelt out in the NDEPS, 2020-2030.
Danbatta, highlighted the Commission’s drive towards deepening broadband penetration in the country and the promotion of digital skills acquisition to improve service delivery in other sectors of the economy, including education, commerce, healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, governance, among others.