By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor
THE Oil sector has been the mainstay of Nigerian economy for a long time, but it appears the growing influence of the Information and Communications Technology, ICT sector, is going to change the narratives.
Recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS puts ICT contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP to 13.8 percent as against that of petroleum 8.8 percent . Going by these figures, the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has predicted that the ICT sector will not only replace the oil sector as the mainstay of the economy, but will, in two years double what it contributes to the GDP..
The Minister spoke at the ongoing session of the International Telecommunications Union ITU Telecom World 2019, in Budapest, Hungary.
As the leader of Nigerian delegation to the annual event, Pantami said that the government wants to sustain the steady growth of ICT in the country which underscores the need for Nigeria to make strong showing at events like the ITU World.
He said such reputable ICT events will enable delegates to network and get the best ideas which they will put into best practice on getting back to their respective countries.
He promised that the Nigerian delegate to the event will take time to put all of the ideas gotten from several meetings and networking, into good use towards the development of the country.
The Minister commended the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, for successfully putting together Nigeria’s participation and told the delegates to maximise the opportunity provided by the attendance by thinking global and acting local.
He said: “I want to thank the NCC for organising the Nigeria’s participation to this very important event. The effort is highly commendable. We hope the tempo will be sustained.
“I’ve been saying it and I’ll repeat it again that the future of the world is in ICT. It is a privilege to be part of this sector and at the same time to be with the stakeholders of the ICT in Nigeria. If you look at it critically, and most importantly the recent statistics released by the NBC, it will tell you that the future is indeed in the ICT. So this is a clear indication that at the pace ICT is growing in Nigeria, most probably in the next two to three years, the contribution of the ICT to the GDP will, at least, double that of oil sector. This is a country that was relying so much on oil sector. But today the oil sector is not even neighbours as the gap between the two is wide. ICT contributes 13 percent as against eight bythe oil sector. The credit should however go to every stakeholder in the sector including a driver.”
The Chairman, NCC’s Board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye commended the Minister for his wise counsel even as the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, told the Minister that the commission has provided information on what agencies under Ministry of Communications are busy doing to grow the ICT sector in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s delegation to Budapest included the Nigerian Ambassador to Hungary. Ms Eniola Olaitan Ajay, Chairman, NCC Board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Former Chairman NCC Board, Alhaji Ahmad Joda, Director General National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Ibrahim, NCC Commissioner, Mr Clem Baiye, among others.