By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI.
Information and Communications Technology, ICT, sector contributed 13.85 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in the seconds quarter of 2019.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr M. F. Istifanus, disclosed this yesterday while flagging off a two-day 2019 ICT Data Stakeholders Workshop, in Owerri.
“The second-quarter report by the National Bureau of Statistics for 2019, showed that the ICT sector contributed an impressive 13.85 per cent, to the GDP of Nigeria”, Istifanus said.
According to the Permanent Secretary, this clearly shows the importance and potential of the ICT sector to the country’s job creation and economic diversification agenda.
“In the global economy, much of the economic value generated is based on data and other knowledge assets. Governments that fail to harness the potentials of the digital economy are severely handicapping their own economies, by depriving them of the new oil of today’s knowledge economy”, Istifanus said.
He further opined that Nigeria needs to embrace and harness its ICT data resources for good ICT governance, planning, monitoring and reporting in this knowledge era.
“More importantly, the world is experiencing the fourth industrial revolution and becoming a knowledge society grounded in the data economy. Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind”, the Permanent Secretary said.
He cautioned that “sticking to business as usual, implies that Nigeria’s economy will miss the wave and the gap with the economies that are successfully exploiting ICT data resources, would keep widening”.
Speaking also, Imo State Commissioner of Technology Development, Nze Meekam Mgbenwelu, said that a world without data would be a wasted one.
“This workshop, organized and sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy in Owerri, is a very welcome development. It will deepen the understanding and importance of data to the primary users of data in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Imo State, particularly with regards to ICT data”, Mgbenwelu said.
Welcoming the participants earlier, the Ministry’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Dr Mrs Nonye Nwachukwu, recalled that one of the key challenges in optimizing the use and operation of the data bank has been the issue of content.
“Although there are pockets of ICT data in the country, these cannot be accessed easily. Also, there is no existing framework for ensuring collaboration, standardization and sustainable synergy in the production and consolidation of ICT data resources in the data bank”, Nwachukwu said.