Pantami takes Digital Economic agenda to Minna
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami says the country has achieved 40.18 per cent Broadband penetration.

Dr. Pantami stated this in Abuja while inaugurating the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee ,BISC, to accelerate the attainment of 70 percent broadband penetration target by 2025.

“If you look at the contribution of technology to our GDP, what we have achieved in the first quota of 2020 is unprecedented, the contribution is 14.07%, so this is a clear indication that the more there is proper penetration, the more our GDP will increase”

“Part of the plan is that we are targeting at least 90% of our population in Nigeria to get access to broadband. While the penetration, we are targeting 70%”

“This has been going on for sometimes; the time we started this, the broadband penetration was 31% but based on the report released by the NCC just last week, the broadband penetration now is 40.18%. Within that period we achieved almost 10% of broadband penetration in less than a year,” Pantami explained

According to the Minister “the new Broadband Plan 2020-2025, according to him, “the plan was designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 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 i.e. 2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage”

Nigerians out of poverty
The plan is being tailored inline with the pledge by President Muhammadu Buhari to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

This will accelerate the aspiration of the country, as it leap frog with the rest of the developed world towards the widespread deployment of 5G technologies, even while it is yet to achieve significant 4G coverage and adoption.

With the 14.07% ICT’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product ,GDP, Nigeria’s government believes that rapid rollout of broadband services will address various socio-economic challenges faced by the country, including the need to grow its economy, create jobs, rapidly expand the tax base, and improve digital literacy and educational standards.

Inaugurating the Steering Committee, the Minister said, “the Plan targets the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all State Capitals, and a point of presence in at least 90% of Local Government Headquarters.

“It also targets tertiary educational institutions, major hospitals in each state and 60% of base stations by 2025 at statutory rates of N145/meter for Right of Way (RoW).

“Our engagement with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has inspired several state governments to adopt the N145/metre and a few of these States have even waived the fee altogether. His Excellency, President Buhari, GCFR also directed the security agencies to protect all Critical National Infrastructure.

“Other Benefits of Increased Broadband Penetration to the Economy
Jobs: According to the Fibre to the Home Council Europe a 25 million EUR investment in information and communications technology (including smart grid and broadband) would create or retain 700,000 jobs, of which 360,000 would be small business jobs;
Higher Standard of Living: Socio-economic development, leading to growth in e-health, e-education, e-government, etc.,”Pantami said.

Patami however urgent the Committee to ensure effective monitoring and implementation of the plan.

“You are expected to adopt the Broadband Plan as your working manual; you should become very familiar with the 100-page document. I believe that a combination of the knowledge of its content and your subject matter expertise will enable you provide a catalyst for innovative solutions to the implementation of the Plan.

“I often state that no Policy or Plan can implement itself. As such, it is critical to ensure that an adequate level of monitoring and feedback is integrated into your activities,” He added.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta said that “by the inaugurating the committee a stage has be set for the full implementation of the plan …We congratulate the Minister for putting in place the Implementation and Steering Committee for the Broadband Plan 2020-2025. The NCC promises its commitment to the effective implementation of the plan” , Prof Danbatta noted.

Speaking on behave of the Committee the Chairman of the Committee, who is also the Executive Commissioner Techinical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska who spoke on behalf of the Committee members said “broadband is central to any digital economy. We are humbled to be members of the committee responsible for steering the implementation of the NBBP. We express our commitment to bring to bear our wealth of experiences for the successful implementation of the BBP,” he said.

Also present at the event were the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Abdullahi Kashifu Inuwa,the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, and the Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, (NIGCOMSAT), Dr. Abimbola Alale. (VON)

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