By Stanley Iwuoha
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, says the commitment of the Federal Government, through the Ministry, to continually advance the digital economy agenda of the country is sacrosanct.
The Minister made the postulation at the maiden edition of the National Dialogue on Telecoms and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sectors in Nigeria organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) with support of other industry stakeholders at in Abuja.
He explained that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) was developed by the Ministry with a view to providing a more coordinated and enhanced national policy direction for transforming Nigeria’s economy into a truly digital economy.
He said that the NDEPS is a policy document that addresses different aspects of development that require attention in order to have a vibrant digital economy, adding that, like Nigeria, most nations are prioritising the need to develop their digital economies because of the multiplier effect on all other sectors of the economy.
Pantami, however, identified some of the challenges of the digital economy to include rapid evolution of technology and widening inequalities between the digital “haves” and “haves-not”; need for new regulations; cybercrime and other threats; low level of digital literacy; and the need for infrastructure.
On the Nigeria’s digital economy strategy, the Minister said the policy is on course and described economic growth and productivity; increased transparency; growth of digital innovation and entrepreneurship; digitisation of work and useful insights from big data as some of the opportunities that abound and from which the economy will gain.
“The telecom and ICT sector stand to gain a lot from the development of our digital economy and the public and private sector need to come on board to maximise the impact on the entire economy,” the Minister said.
On his part, the Chief host and President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola, explained that the national dialogue was targeted at harnessing the digital resources in the country with a view to optimising innovative ideas to effectively pursue the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government.
The event featured insightful panel discussion sessions by industry stakeholders and goodwill messages by state governments’ representatives across the six geo-political zones, who used the platform to talk about how their states were leveraging ICT deployment to drive their economic activities and the development of their states.