National Assembly approves N39.3bn for ministry of communications, digital economy
The Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Communications, ICT and Cybercrime of the National Assembly has approved N39.3 billion budget for Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy for 2021 fiscal year. The committee approved the budget after the 2021 budget defence session by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami. The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi urged the ministry to fully utilise ICT development in the country. He said “It is our belief that if Nigeria must realize the full benefits that accrue to the country from digital economy, the ICT sector in Nigeria, spearheaded by the Ministry must sufficiently promote the utilization of ICT infrastructure and participation in the ICT economy by Nigerians with a view to using same to promote good governance and digital service delivery in the country. Hon. Adeyemi stated that effective deployment of ICT would enhance productivity in virtually all human endeavours. He also stressed the need for the Ministry to give its stewardship of the plans towards the establishment of the ICT University of Nigeria; Smart City Project; ICT Hub Centres and ICT Parks all of which are components of the National ICT Road Maps. Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has promised the National Assembly that more ICT centres will be set-up to enhance the digital skills which will in turn led to promotion of the economy. He said the ministry is also committed to production of indigenous content to boost the economy. He added that “most of our graduates today lack the skills required, they only focus more on getting certificates. They only focus on theory, and when you employ them, you need to train them all through because the skills are not there. He said the focus of the world has shifted from theoretical knowledge to technology and skills. He also stated that the focus of the world is not on certificate but skills. The minister disclosed that Nigeria’s broadband penetration rate increased by 10% in 2020. He said the key priorities of the ministry includes: “plans completion of 70% access to Broadband connectivity by 2025 from the present 41.27%; execution plan to deploy 4G backbone across the country; digitise all government functions and processes by 2023 (e-governance), and also develop and implement digital economy strategy.