POLITICAL ECONOMY

Nigeria’s Digital Economy Journey On Course As Pantami Commissions More Projects

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By Angeline Ngbele, Correspondent Abuja

The commitment  of the Buhari Administration to the Digital Economy Agenda of the country,  has again been demonstrated at  the virtual commissioning of 11 new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects implemented by the agencies under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, led by the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC).

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Pantami

On hand to e-commission the projects was the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, in Abuja at the Digital Economy Complex on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.

Other than the Nigerian Communications Commission and its scion- the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), three other agencies under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy  namely  the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Galaxy Backbone and the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) contributed to the projects.

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The projects, which were commissioned virtually by the Minister included the Emergency Communication Centres (ECC’s) in Ilorin, Kwara State and Calabar, Cross River. Other projects commissioned included the e-Health/Data Sharing Centre,  Medical College, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University(ATBU), Bauchi; and Virtual  Examination Centre, University of Maiduguri(UNIMAID),  Borno State,  all implemented by the NCC.

Two projects executed by the USPF that were also commissioned included, the Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), Delta State and School Knowledge Centre (SKC) located at Government Day Secondary School, Hassan Central, Gombe State. NITDA implemented three projects: the Information Technology (IT) and Incubation Park, University of Ayangba, Kogi State, ICT Capacity Building Centres at the College of Education, Gumel, Jigawa State and Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State.

Also commissioned were the new Neighborhood Post Office/NIRSAL Microfinance bank branch, Delta State and the Remodeled National Mail Exchange Centre (Mbiama), Ahoada West Local Government Area of River State executed by NIPOST.

Speaking at the commissioning, Pantami, who noted that over 500 projects had been executed by agencies under the ministry in the past five years, said the projects were connected to the tripartite agenda of the President focusing on enhancing national security, diversification of the economy and curbing corruption.

Pantami

Pantami stated that the 11 projects were in sync with seven of the eight pillars of the country’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) unveiled by the President last year. He thanked the President for being supportive of the Ministry’s initiative towards addressing extant challenges of vandalism of telecom infrastructure, Right of Way (RoW) issues, among others in order to accelerate broadband penetration to 70 per cent as envisaged by the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).

Chairman, NCC Governing Board, Prof. Adeolu Akande thanked the Minister for the visibility he was giving the projects being executed by the agencies under the Ministry. While the Executive Vice Chairman  and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, reiterated the commitment of the Commission towards implementing policies and programmes aimed at fast-tracking the advancement of digital economy vision of the Federal Government.

The event was well attended by governors and ministers, who were special guests among whom were the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, who was Chairman of the occasion, Governor of Gombe State, Minister of Interior,Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola,  Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Mines and Power, Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, as well as the staff of the Ministry, board members and heads of agencies under the ministry, among others. The special guests commended the Minister for commissioning the important projects and for enhancing synergy between the Ministry and its agencies.

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