By Emem Idio
YENAGOA—IN a bid to promote and encourage young entrepreneurs in Information Communication Technology ICT, Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has stated that plans are underway by the Federal Government to set up an ICT Development Bank that will provide funding for the industry.
The minister disclosed this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, weekend, during the launch of the Bayelsa Ecosystem and Ignition Week, organised by the Young Innovators of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Government.
Represented by the former Director of National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack, the minister noted that the ICT Bank will among other services, reduced the dependence on commercial banks for funding and also offer lower interest rates and grow the ICT industry.
He hinted that in pursuant of the ministry’s mandate of leveraging ICT in its entire ramifications and in order to promote local manpower of ICT sector, the ministry was implementing as part of the 2017 budget, incubation hubs across the six geopolitical zones in the country so as to boost empowerment and growth in the sector.
He said: “The ministry is also thinking of promoting the establishment of the ICT development bank just like the Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry so as to promote and assist the immediate funding of the ICT industry instead of depending on commercial banks which have high interest rates.
“The current administration at the federal level has been conscious of the role of ICT and has therefore, been committed over the last three years to ensuring that ICT facilities and services are expended rapidly across the country. We are working round the clock to ensure that very soon the broadband penetration in the country would have risen above 20 percent. Let me also state here that the achievement of 30 percent growth in broadband by the end of 2018 is sacrosanct.”