More than 24 institutions in the country, comprising 18 universities, and six polytechnics, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), drawn evenly from the six geopolitical zones in the country, have benefited from a Federal Government’s broadband infrastructure projects designed to accelerate the Nigeria Digital Economy efforts.
In Abuja, at the recent unveiling of the projects driven by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who presided over the event, said the projects underscore the importance of broadband connectivity.
In an official statement by Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, the minister stated that broadband access is central to the accomplishment of the targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 for a digital Nigeria, and that the project is in line with the mandates of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and economic diversification.
Pantami, who was joined by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Bello at the event, disclosed that the key infrastructure provided for the project, comprises broadband infrastructure for tertiary institutions of learning; broadband infrastructure for MSME; distribution of 6,000 e-pad tablets, in addition to the provision of broadband connectivity to 20 markets as a pilot.
He said the interest in supporting the MSMEs is justified by their current contribution of more than half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) prior to COVID-19 outbreak, and now constitute 96.7 per cent of entire businesses in the country. Any effort to develop our economy without bringing such an important sector into the equation will amount to efforts in futility.”
At the event, which had in attendance the Chairman of the Board of the NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande; the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta; the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; and the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof Idris Bugaje, a book authored by Pantami, titled “Skills Rather Than Just Degrees” with the foreword written by Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corporation, was unveiled for the industry.
Pantami said the book is his intellectual contribution to bridging the skills gap to enable Nigerians to tap into the opportunities that exist in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and other sectors of the economy.