By EMMA ELEBEKE
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has tasked the Presidential Committee on Broadband to ensure that Nigeria attains 80 percent of broadband access by 2018.
The minister gave the task yesterday, during the official inauguration of the committee in Abuja. She also tasked the committee to fix broadband access in the country to 20 percent by the year 2017.
Johnson said that the inauguration of the Broadband council represents an important milestone in the implementation of the national broadband plan.
The broadband council has a five year plan to oversee the implementation of the plan and the goal of the broadband plan is to have pervasive mobile broadband access to 80 percent of the population and fix broadband access to roughly 20 percent by the year 2017.
“With this goal in mind, I have no doubt that with the credibility and the composition of the nominees to this Council and working close with the ministry, can achieve the object of the broadband plan and look forward to work with you on the delivery of these objectives,” she said.
It will be recalled that the national broadband plan was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan for his approval on May 30th 2013.
In his remarks after the plan was presented to him, the President then, emphasized that broadband is to the digital age what electricity was to industrial age and that while African countries seemed to have missed out of the industrialization age, they could not afford to miss out of the digital age and therefore welcomed the national broadband plan.
He reiterated that that the plan must be implemented, adding that the benefits of the plan that were articulated inside it were also important for Nigeria.
The role of council is to ensure that Nigeria not only have a well-articulated plan, but also a well-executed plan as well.
The terms of reference for the committee includes: providing periodic progress report on the evaluation of the plan, facilitating the coordination and collaboration of the various stakeholders during plan implementation, ensuring that relevant agencies and institutions are actively engaged and monitoring the progress of the plan and highlighting adjustment areas if any.
The nomination to the council according to the minister, took a very careful process to select the individuals that were drawn into the council.
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the Engr. Ndukwe commended the federal government for taking up the task of ensuring broadband services across Nigeria and also tanked the minister for her vision and the speed at which the ministry is pursuing the plan.