More than twenty-two institutions in the country, comprising eighteen 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.
At the unveiling of the projects being driven by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which was held in Abuja,, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who presided over the event, said the projects underscores the importance of broadband connectivity and access as 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.
Professor Pantami, who was joined by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Bello at the event, disclosed that the key infrastructure being provided for the project, comprise of broadband infrastructure for tertiary institutions of learning; broadband infrastructure for MSME; distribution of 6,000 e-pad tablets, in addition to 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, and therefore, “any effort to develop our economy without bringing such important sector into the equation will amount to efforts in futility.”
The event was attended by stakeholders in the ICT sector including 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.
High point of the event was the unveiling of a book authored by Pantami, titled “Skills Rather Than Just Degrees” with foreword written by Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corporation.