Information and communication technology (ICT), telecommunication and digital economy have contributed 18.44 per cent in Q2 2022 to the gross domestic product (GDP), making it the fastest revenue generator in the Nigerian economy.
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami stated this during a press briefing to mark the commemoration of the Digital Nigeria Day (DND) 2022 and the flag off of the Digital Nigeria International Conference with the theme “Digital Transformation A Path To Sustainable Digital Economy” billed to run from 25 to 27, October 2022, in Abuja.
The minister highlighted that the revenue generated from all operators and licenses in the agencies rose from N51.3 billion to N594 billion.
Highlighting achievements of the ministry, Pantami said the ICT sector provided 3 unprecedented contributions to the GDP of the country in the last 3 years, namely 14.07 per cent in Q1 2020, 17.92 per cent in Q2 2021 and 18.44 per cent in Q2 2022. Each time, he said, these numbers were the highest ever contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP.
“The ICT sector grew by 14.70 per cent in Q4 2020, making it the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy in the last quarter of 2020 and the only sector to have grown by double digits. This played a critical role in enabling Nigeria to exit the recession. Furthermore, the quarterly revenues also generated for the Federal Government rose from N51.3 billion to N408.7 billion, through spectrum sales and taxes from the sector.
“It is also worthy of note that the ministry excelled at the recently concluded retreat for all ministers. The assessment was carried out by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), United Kingdom, KPMG, among others, in partnership with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the Presidency,” he said.
According to him, the assessment was based on the output indicators and milestones for the eight ministerial deliverables and the ministry obtained the highest grade in each of the deliverables.
The scores of the ministry for each deliverable are 134 per cent for implementation of broadband connectivity, 127 per cent for the deployment of 4G across the country, 99 per cent for digitalising government functions and processes, 103 per cent for the development and implementation of a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, 86 per cent for implementation of a digital identity programme, 594 per cent for improvement and optimisation of revenues from all operators and licensees in the agencies under the ministry’s supervision 111 per cent for active collaboration with the private sector to create jobs and 137 per cent for the empowerment of citizens.
Pantami recalled that over 863,372 citizens benefited from digital skills programmes, with agreements with leading global companies (like Microsoft and Huawei) to train millions of Nigerians.
“Upon assumption of office on August 21, 2019, the official broadband penetration figures stood at 33.72 per cent and, today, it is 44.65 per cent, representing close to 13 million new broadband users. Similarly, there were 13,823 4G base stations and we now have 36,751, representing a 165.86 per cent increase. The percentage 4G coverage across the country also increased from 23 per cent to 77.52 per cent. Additionally, the cost of data has crashed from N1,200 per GB to about N350, making it easier for Nigerians to connect to the Internet.
“We have also developed an IT clearance portal to support inoperability, eliminate duplication and ensure value for money in the implementation of ICT projects in the country. The quarterly savings from the IT Projects’ Clearance Process rose from N12.45 million to N10.57 billion.
“We aim to create a pool of innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) to accelerate the development of Nigeria’s digital economy. Through our efforts, 355,610 direct and indirect jobs were created. Privacy concerns are also being addressed through the newly established Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB). The drafting of the data protection bill has reached an advanced stage. The Digital Identity enrolments have also been very successful, with issued national identification numbers (NINs) rising from less than 40 million to over 90 million.
“We have developed a policy for promoting indigenous content in the telecom sector to complement similar efforts that focus on the information technology sector. This is important to stem the tide of capital flight, amongst other things.
“We have been very active in the emerging technology space and even established the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), the first of such centres in Africa.
“The efforts of the ministry continue to play a critical role in the development of the different sectors of the economy. I call on all stakeholders to persist in supporting us to further accelerate the development of the sector.”
In his remarks, the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi explained that the Digital Nigeria Day aims to promote the digital economy in the country.
He called on the media to “Tell the world that Nigeria is ready for digital transformation and for digital economy”.