President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the ICT sector had developed 19 national policies which are in various stages of implementation to boost development.
The president, represented by Sen. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of Science and Technology, made this known in Abuja while declaring open the 2022 National Engineering Conference, Exhibition and Annual General Meeting of NSE.
According to him, the sector developed 19 national policies, all of which are in various stages of implementation and had facilitated the quantum leap recorded by the sector.
He said: “These national policies are in the areas of developmental regulations, infrastructure, digital skills, and indigenous content development, among others.
“In a bid to achieve the goal of digitalisation of Nigeria, I launched and unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), and National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, among others.
“Nigeria’s digital economy is the fastest growing sector in the nation’s economy and the only sector that grew by double digits at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Buhari said that the sector’s contribution to the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the last three years had been phenomenal and unprecedented.
“To be specific, the ICT sector provided three unprecedented contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our dear country in the last three years.
“ Namely 14.07 per cent in Q1 2020, 17.92 per cent in Q2 2021 and 18.44 per cent in Q2 2022.
“At each time, that has been the highest ever contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP. This shows that our efforts are yielding positive results, ‘’he said.
According to him, he had just assented to the startup Act; which will further boost over 383 Nigerian tech startups in the nation due to the deliberate policy-focused initiative of the sector in partnership with relevant stakeholders.
He said that the act has the capacity to significantly transform the innovation and startup ecosystem, “we eagerly await the impact of it.”
“Nigeria’s digital economy has been noted by the international community, eliciting recognition from the international stakeholders including the appointment of Nigeria to chair some highly regarded forums.
“The current industry statistics is proof that Nigeria is achieving her goals of digitisation of its economy.
“We are working to deliver better governance at a reduced cost to Nigerians leveraging digital technologies so that the new normal can be leveraged upon in all sectors and at all government engagement, ‘’ he said.
Buhari said that the Federal Government was also leveraging on emerging technologies to support the different sectors of the economy.
He said that the government was pleased with the auctioning and roll-out of 5G services in Nigeria.
He said:” The theme for the 2022 National Engineering Conference, “Advancing the Frontiers of Communication and Digital Economy in Nigeria, bears another testimony to the potency of NSE conferences.
“ In drawing attention to the critical aspects of our corporate existence as a nation that needs intervention.
“The theme of this conference also reflects the yearning of the Federal Government’s drive towards digitising the country’s economy using modern technology.
“ And in making our country rank among the most advanced in the world in the communications sector.
“It is worthy of mention that the Federal Government’s partnership with the NSE through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, in organising this conference, is not misplaced, ‘’ he said.
The president said that such partnerships between and amongst the Government and private sector players were what any nation needed for accelerated growth and development.
“My administration will continue to engage with professionals; engineers, to achieve sustainable socio-economic development in the country.
“This is in line with the nine priority areas of my administration in order to achieve the desired milestones in digital economy.
“I demand your advisory support and strategic collaboration to further accelerate economic growth and improve efficiency in strengthening all other sectors of the economy, ‘’ he said.
Earlier, his welcome remarks, Mr Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, President NSE, said that according to a United Nations’ report, digital technologies had advanced more rapidly than any innovation in history.
Gidari-Wudil said that digital technologies had over 50 per cent of the developing world’s population in barely two decades and transforming societies in multifaceted ways.
“As a major stakeholder in Nigeria’s development trajectory, the NSE has the conviction that the country must be well positioned to take advantage of transformations that digital technologies have blown forth.
“ With a vision to propel our nation into an advanced and globally-focused digital economy.
“Nigeria has a rich pool of highly innovative human resources; therefore, a thriving digital economy will create employment opportunities for our teeming population.
“ Improve security, reduce corruption and enhance the overall wellbeing of our dear nation and its citizenry, ‘’ he said.
According to him, that conviction informed the decision to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on the conference.