By Juliet Umeh
More than 22 institutions in the country, comprising 18 universities, and six polytechnics, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, drawn evenly from the six geopolitical zones in the country, will benefit from a Federal Government’s broadband infrastructure projects said to be worth over N16 billion.
The projects are designed to accelerate the Nigeria Digital Economy efforts.
At the unveiling of the projects, driven by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, in Abuja, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, said the projects underscore the importance of broadband connectivity and access as central to the accomplishment of the targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS 2020-2030 for a digital Nigeria.
They are also in line with the mandates of federal government on job creation and economic diversification.
Pantami, who was joined by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello at the event, disclosed that the key infrastructure being provided for the project, comprise of broadband infrastructure for tertiary institutions of learning; broadband infrastructure for MSME; distribution of 6,000 e-pad tablets, in addition to provision of broadband connectivity to 20 markets as a pilot.
He said the interest in supporting the MSMEs is justified by their current contribution of more than half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, prior to COVID-19 outbreak, and now constitute 96.7 percent of entire businesses in the country, and therefore, “any effort to develop our economy without bringing such important sector into the equation will amount to efforts in futility.”
Also, the Executive Vice Chairman, EVC of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, highlighted the Commission’s drive towards deepening broadband penetration in the country.
He said: “The promotion of digital skills acquisition will improve service delivery in other sectors of the economy, including in education, commerce, healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, governance, among others.”