By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu over the weekend said the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari administration is fully on course.
The Minister stated this in Ibadan in his keynote address titled “Maximizing the Potentials of the Telecommunications Industry for Reversing Recession and Economic Growth of Nigeria” at the University of Ibadan school of Business (UISB’S) Eminent Person Business lecture series .
He declared that the present administration in the country is determined to make Information Communication Technology (ICT) the main pillar of the Nigerian economy by mainstreaming it into all aspects of National life.
“The change agenda is fully on course with President Muhammadu Buhari on the driver’s seat. One of the several ways the change mantra is stabilizing the country is the deliberate move to diversify the economy. The searchlight is on ICT, which is an enabler for all spheres of life and development” he said.
Barrister Shittu pointed out that “the ICT sector presently contributes over 10% to the GDP” adding that “In just 15years,GSM has more than 150million subscribers with over 100% Teledensity, while internet users have hit almost 100million and still counting”.
“We are determined to make a change,to make our own contribution in a way that our economy will be diversified by leveraging on ICTs. We want to deploy ICTs in all the sectors in a very effective and efficient manner so as to diversify our economy,in a sustainable manner”
The Minister added that “it is important we maximize the potentials of the industry otherwise, after some time, we will relapse to what the situation used to be and the problems would start again. But if we maximize and remain competitive, the economy will be strong to withstand shock”.
“The country is presently in a recession, but it is not because we are in it that we are concerned. We are concerned because each time there is a sharp drop in prices, we enter into a recession and we want to make sure this cycle does not continue, and the way we can do so is to diversify the economy, by leveraging on ICT and move the economy from being resource-based, which it has been since independence”.
Barrister Shitu added that “Technology business outsourcing is key to wealth and job creation mechanism, it is my desire and aspiration to leverage business process outsourcing and other ICT sector opportunities, to create over two million jobs, a Technological Park and ICT Exhibition Centre, create ICT innovation hubs across the nation and reposition NIPOST to enable it provide cost effective 21st Century services”
Speaking further,the Minister assured that the President Buhari’s administration, through the ICT Roadmap would expediate action, broaden the implementation of the existing sector plans as well as engender closer collaboration between the Ministry and other critical stakeholders.
“Our overall vision is to make the ICT sector the main pillar of the Nigerian economy,as we mainstream ICT into all aspects of national life. This would require effective synergy within the ICT sector and constructive engagement among stakeholders. This way,we hope to have an integrated implementation of the ICT Roadmap”
Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Professr Abel Olayinka in his address said the university would do all that it takes to make sure the programme becomes the standard among its peer