.Communications Minister canvases policy on digital economy

James Ogunnaike, ABEOKUTA

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami has declared that the Federal Government is developing policies and initiating programmes to ensure that it builds a nation where digital innovations and entrepreneurship are used to create value and prosperity for all.

Pantami said this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital while addressing participants at a two day 5th TechSummit Ogun, 2022, on the creative industry and its impact of the economy.

The Summit, tagged ‘Disruptive Innovation: Production And Distribution of Creative Content’ was convened by the Chief Executive Officer of VerveTree Startup, Olaniyi Ayoola.

Pantami, represented by Dr Abimbola Alale, the CEO/MD of Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), said, the government needs to empower citizens with the requisite skills that will enable the adoption of digital technologies across industries is addressed in the 2nd pillar, stressing that, it has set up an online training academy, which together with other digital training outlets has led to the up-skilling of about 500,000 Nigerians.

He said, “we also developed the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) to ensure that our citizens have access to, and can afford quality broadband connectivity. The Plan seeks to deliver data download broadband speeds across Nigeria at a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas.

“With effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population and penetration rate of 70% by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data. We have already experienced a significant drop in the cost of 1GB of broadband.”

The Minister further revealed that over 20 policies have been developed while initiating programmes to ensure that the country is built to a stage where digital innovation and entrepreneurship are used to create value and prosperity for all.

He listed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy which was anchored on 8 pillars; Nigeria National Broadband Plan (2020-2035); Nigeria Startup Bill, which is in the process of being forwarded to the National Assembly; and National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, amongst the policies and programme.

He said over 500,000 Nigerians have been engaged in digital training outlets which has led to their up-skilling, while partnering with global and indigenous tech companies to significantly increase the number of Nigerians with digital skills.

According to him, Augmented and Virtual Reality is projected to grow into $95 billion market by 2025, saying the projection demand in the creative economy from gaming, live events, film, and video entertainment and retail can’t be overemphasised.

He said further that digitalisation is therefore one of the key means by which creative content can be made more visible and accessible to regional and global audiences, “as such digitisation offers great potentials for tapping into traditional and non-traditional markets for creative goods and services.

He said, “The creative economy is recognised as a major contributor to economic growth. The creative industry has proven to be an important source of growth in the global economy. According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the global market value for creative goods doubled from $208 billion in 2002 to $509 billion in 2015.

“Technology startups are a key driver of economic growth. According to 2021 report by Startup Genome, the global startup economy is worth over $3.8 trillion in Ecosystem Value, more than the individual GDP of most G7 economies.

“This may explain why the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) is expected to rise exponentially. A foremost Goldman Sachs estimates that AR and VR will grow into a $95 billion market by 2025.

“Digitalization is, therefore, one of the key means by which creative content can be made more visible and accessible to regional and global audiences. As such, digitalisation offers great potential for tapping into traditional and non-traditional markets for creative goods and services.”

In his keynote address, Engr Bako Wakil, the Director of Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Nigerian Communications, commended the organisers of the two-day event for display of talent and creativity, adding that the NCC had no regret supporting the programme.

Wakil said, “With the events of the last two days, we are right by supporting this program and NCC will continue to do so. I want to thank the organizers of Ogun TechSummit for this display of talent and creativity that is embodied in our youths.

“The NCC will continue to provide necessary infrastructure across the country. Of course, you need the internet to be very effective in what you do, either as a tech or creative talent. NCC is one of the leading implementing agencies for the national broadband plan. Our plan is to make broadband available, accessible and affordable to all Nigerians.

“We have actually auctioned the 5G sector. This is another step towards achieving the goal of the national broadband plan. Perhaps, before the end of the year, we will see some activities in the deployment of 5G.”

The Convener, Ayoola, in his welcome address said the purpose of the Summit was to open the eyes of emerging creative and content creators to all sorts of opportunities in the industry, adding that Ogun State is more blessed with many young people.

“Ogun State is blessed with the largest higher institutions in the country and there’s no reason why we can’t turn the space around into a money-making state via technology and creative contents.”

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