…Urges youths to embrace digital skills acquisition
The executive vice-chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has identified Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a key enabler of Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
Delivering a paper titled “Empowering the Nigerian Youth through Information and Communication Technology” at the combined 10th and 11th convocation lecture of the Fountain University at Osogbo, Osun State, Danbatta asserted that the adoption and utilisation of ICT remain synonymous with empowerment.
He averred that ICT transforms processes efficiently and enables operations’ effectiveness in every sector of the economy, including commerce, agriculture, health, security and governance.
Danbatta recalled the impact of ICT revolution in all parts of human endeavour across countries and continents, insisting that technology will continue to penetrate and foster qualitative and quantifiable changes in all aspects of life.
The NCC boss highlighted Federal Government’s policy decisions to strengthen ICT adoption in building a robust digital economy in Nigeria, eloquently expressed in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 and other series of policies, guidelines and regulations derivative of the NDEPS and NNBP.
He explained that the adoption of digital revolutions by the government is creating multiplier effects across critical sectors, aiding job creation, better governance, youth empowerment and overall socio-economic development. “It is the reason this objective reality is cited as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“Indeed, for over 10 years, ICT has consistently contributed more than 10 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the telecom sector alone contributed 12.45 per cent to GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.
According to him, given that Nigeria accounts for 82 per cent of Africa’s ICT market and 29 per cent of continental Internet usage and sub-Saharan Africa being the fastest-growing region for ICT adoption, the Federal Government, in its determination to ensure that the nation harnesses the full benefits of ICT, instituted a broadband vision that will see Nigeria become a nation of connected communities of high-speed broadband access and connectivity.
The EVC said the envisioned society will deliver an Internet connectivity speed of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) in rural areas and 25 Mbps in urban areas by 2025. Additionally, effective coverage will be available to, at least, 90 per cent of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per one gigabyte of data.
Explaining further, the professor of telecommunications engineering informed the audience that the NCC has connected to the policies of government through its Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024 and the Strategic Vision Plan (SVP), 2021-2025, which streamline the provision of key extant policies for effective implementation by the commission.
Danbatta passionately appealed to Nigerian youths to take advantage of government’s laudable policies, which have found expression in many activities of the commission targeting Nigerian youths. These activities and interventionist programmes have, as a primer, the ICT Hubs Support and Engagement programme, which brings youths together in the Nigerian tech ecosystem to deliberate and recommend frameworks and strategies for the development of the sector.
A statement by the commission’s director, public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said Danbatta stated that the overarching objective of the engagement is to harness the innovative and creative energy of the young people to promote ICT innovation and entrepreneurship, provide the linkage between policy-makers, industry, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to leverage the power of digital technology through local content development.
“This engagement and collaboration align with the commission’s policy of inclusiveness which, by the reckoning of development scholars, is imperative for growth and development,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Olalekan Sanni, described Danbatta as an “accomplished academic and administrator, whose wealth of experience was considered worthy of tapping into by the university community towards proffering solutions to the issue of youth empowerment and to suggest ways for enhancing Nigeria’s socio-economic life through effective leveraging of ICT”.