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Danbatta: FG’s ICT policies intend to alleviate poverty

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said that the two Federal Government policies recently launched will help government to lift many Nigerians out of poverty. According to him, the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020- 2030 and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 are to further the achievement of the promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years, among others. Speaking at the 2021 International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Institute of ICT Engineers (NIICTE), a division of the Nigerian Institute of Engineers (NSE), Danbatta said government had recognised the tremendous economic growth opportunities afforded by the deployment of broadband technologies, hence, it has demonstrated its poise to play actively in the digital economy by rigorously formu-lating two key policy instruments that drive its digital economy agenda.

While noting that President Muhammadu Buhari had launched the two policies in November 2019 and March 2020 respectively, he said the president had also expanded the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to address the development of the Nigerian Digital Economy in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with a focus on accelerating growth and social inclusion by re-designating the ministry to include Digital Economy.

“It may interest you to know that we at NCC have made some of our efforts to boost the Nigerian Digital Economy through the overwhelming support received always from our minister, Prof. Isa Pantami,” Danbatta said. According to him, through its previous 8-point agenda and now 5-point agenda, which aligns with the Digital Economy objects of the Federal Government, the Commission has recorded several achievements, which include the creation of a full-fledged department of Digital Economy with mandate, among others, to ensure that the programmes and targets set in the NNBP 2020-2025 and NDEPS 2020–2030 are rigorously pursued, tracked and attained; licensing of infrastructure companies (INFRACO) to deploy fiber on an open-access basis in six geopolitical zones of the country and Lagos, among others. Speaking at the conference on the role of ICT professionals in government’s digital economy policies, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said the Digital Economy was a core driver of innovation and economic growth.

“However, no nation can build a Digital Economy without a constant pool of highly qualified creative talent, as the digital economy is knowledge-based and is characterized by dependence on highly-skilled, and technology- inclined citizens. “ICT Engineering skills is a crucial component for the development of the complex systems that enable and support the Digital Economy. “Professional ICT engineering input is required at many different levels, and in a multitude of ways, to crystallise the vision, strategy, and delivery of a robust national digital economy. As such, there is an important link between ICT engineering capacity and the economic development of any nation,” he said.

 

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