By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has stressed the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in transforming Nigeria’s economy and creating more job opportunities for the nation’s youth.
In a press statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki in a discussion with some visiting foreign dignitaries stated that developing an open and competitive ICT marketplace in Nigeria has the potential of contributing billions of dollars to our nation’s GDP.
“Nigeria’s ICT sector accounted for only 11 percent of our GDP in 2014. In an era where we are looking to diversify the foundation of our economy, in 2017, ICT can be a key source of potential revenue and livelihoods for millions of our enterprising youth. But the only way this will be possible is if we augment the regulatory and political attention that we devote to the sector,” the Senate President said.
“Nigerians are keen to adopt new information and communications technology in their workplaces and homes, to make life easier, better and more productive for them,” Saraki said, “Nigeria’s ICT space is fast-evolving and is the largest in Africa. With 86 million Nigerians online, the increasing proliferation of tech clusters and the growth of cross-border ICT services, we need to change the way that we think about ICT in Nigeria. We can’t stop thinking locally, but we need to start acting globally.”
“We need to figure out how to push more Nigerian tech companies — many of whom are run by young men and women — to be competitive in the global marketplace. We also need to increase access to cheaper ICT solutions to our MSMEs that contribute 47 percent to our nation’s GDP. Most importantly, we need to develop our human resources by strengthening our school curriculum to reinforce Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning and adoption. There are many issues to be solved, but will sufficient cooperation, all stakeholders, public and private, can work together to harness the potential of ICT in Nigeria,” he said.
The Senate President also emphasised the need to build on Nigeria’s current ICT foundation, in order to utilize ICT and ICT services in order to positively make impact on the daily lives of everyday Nigerian.
In June 2017, the Senate President’s Office is scheduled to host a CEO Roundtable featuring Nigeria’s leading ICT executives, where the discussion will focus on issues that are particular to Nigeria’s ICT development.