Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, will on Thursday, November 24, 2022, in Abuja, preside over the commencement of landmark broadband initiatives to be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) to accelerate broadband penetration in Nigeria and advance the course of digital economy projections for the nation.
The event will witness the award of contracts for the provision of broadband infrastructure for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), as well as for tertiary and higher institutions of learning across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Pantami is also billed to present a book, SKILLS RATHER THAN JUST DEGREES, authored by him, with a foreword written by Brad Smith, President, Microsoft Corporation.
The list of projects for the various geopolitical zones that are set for launch were recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), after presentation by the Minister. The projects are expected to be completed within six months, from the date of the award.
Well-known tech companies have been selected through a transparent tendering process by the NCC for the implementation of strategic projects.
The event is expected to attract multi-stakeholders from the academia, technology enthusiasts, including prospective start-up companies, fintech organisations and other interested sectors, whose activities are billed to energize the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030.
The provision of broadband infrastructure for the MSMEs in Nigeria, and for tertiary institutions across the six geopolitical zones of the country will add the necessary fillip towards achieving the major objectives spelt out in the NDEPS 2020-2030.
On the 16th of December 2019, a committee was inaugurated to draft a National Broadband Plan (NBP) for Nigeria (2020-2025) on behalf of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
The Committee was made up of 32 industry experts and was chaired by Funke Opeke. The development of a Broadband Plan aligns with global best practice and the constitution of the Committee is in line with the powers of the minister as stated in Section 23(a) of the
The NBP addresses 3 of the 8 priorities that the Federal Government assigned to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the parastatals under its purview, for implementation. These priorities are the implementation of broadband connectivity and execution of a plan to deploy 4G across the country, as well as the development and implementation of a digital economy policy and strategy.
Broadband supports the development of the digital economy and a focus on growing the National Digital Economy will also improve and diversify the nation’s traditional economy.
The broadband plan was designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria, a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage).
The implementation of the Plan will lead to creation of jobs, improved socio-economic development and sustained economic growth, amongst others. However, it is important to note that the successful implementation of the Plan requires synergy between government and the private sector.
Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, with a nominal GDP as at Q4 2019 of approximately USD 445 Billion, accounting for about 20% of continental GDP, and a disproportionate 75% of the West African economy.
Across the continent, Nigeria is followed by South Africa and Egypt at USD 371 Billion and USD 300 Billion respectively [ADB]. The country’s economy is currently witnessing a period of slow growth, having gone through a major recession and currency devaluation arising from lower oil export prices in 2016.
Nigeria is seeking to diversify its earnings away from over dependence on oil thus significant investments are being made in agriculture and infrastructure in line with its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) that seeks to accelerate growth in the economy and to reduce chronic rates of unemployment.
However, with an estimated population growth rate of 2.5%, much higher GDP growth rates will be required in order to lift 100 Million Nigerians out of poverty within 10 years in line with the President’s commitment.