President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday that the federal government had achieved 100 percent broadband penetration in Nigeria.
The president said this in Abuja at a Digital Economy Conference labeled ‘Promoting a vibrant digital economy, a catalyst for economic growth in Nigeria’.
The conference was organized by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Patami, the president said the figure was contrary to reports that the country had only achieved 43 percent penetration.
According to him, reports of 43 percent penetration are outdated.
“One of the richest people in the world announced that Nigeria, out of 54 African countries, has outstanding broadband.
“As I speak to you today, broadband penetration in Nigeria is 100 percent,” Buhari said.
He said that the Federal Government has performed excellently in terms of bringing about wider broadband for Nigerians.
According to him, from 23 percent coverage in 2019, this administration increased broadband by 77 percent in 2022 and 100 percent in 2023.
“Today, broadband can be accessed anywhere in the country, be it urban, rural or desert.
“We are the first African country to achieve this and the only one so far,” the president said.
Buhari said the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had scored very highly in an independent evaluation.
He said that “70 percent is distinction and the digital sector has surpassed it.
“We performed excellently in the eight priority areas of the sector.
“For example, in pillar number one, which is broadband penetration, we achieved 134%, in pillar number two, which is 4G penetration, we achieved 127%.
“In addition, we met 99 percent in the third pillar, the fourth pillar, which has to do with national identity, we achieved 94 percent.
“In the fifth pillar, which is quarterly revenue generation, we went from generating N51 billion in three months to N408 billion in three months.”
According to him, in the sixth pillar we achieved a result of 103 percent, in the seventh pillar we achieved 111 percent, and in the eighth pillar we achieved 137 percent.
Given the call by the President of NACCIMA for the inclusion of the organized private sector in the National Council for Innovation and Digital Entrepreneurship, the president said that the provision had been made.
He asked NACCIMA to send the names of their representatives for consideration.
Mr. Ide Udeagbala, National President of NACCIMA, said the conference was aimed, among other things, at promoting the tech ecosystem in Nigeria and establishing the potential of the digital economy for job creation.
He also said that the conference was organized to identify the opportunities that existed in the technology industry and grow it by attracting local and foreign investment to Nigeria.
Udeagbala further said that the conference would help identify the challenges preventing the development of the technology industry and encourage the government to formulate policies that would be based on existing laws, among others.
He said that part of the discussions at the conference would also focus on establishing digital hubs in the six geopolitical zones.
This, according to him, will bring opportunities to rural areas, promote start-ups and encourage innovations in the industry while discovering tech experts.
“The top five tech companies in the world are managed and led by Indians.
“Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Satya Nadella, an Indian; Google’s CEO is Sundar Pichai, an Indian; The CEO of Twitter is Parag Agrawal, an Indian.
“Also, the CEO of IBM is Arvind Krishna, an Indian; and then the CEO of Adobe is Shantanu Narayen, also an Indian.
“This is in addition to the fact that the Indian tech sector works with more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, and most of them are based in the US.
“The question that begs for answers is what prevents young Nigerians who excel academically in every institution in the world from achieving this,” he said.
Udeagbala said it was time to move away from the narrative that some young Nigerians were using technology for fraudulent activities commonly called ‘yahoo-yahoo’.
He called for the inclusion of the organized private sector in the National Council for Innovation and Digital Entrepreneurship.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, praised NACCIMA for organizing the conference.
The minister, who was represented by the ministry’s Director of Commerce, Sulaiman Audu, said the ministry would collaborate with NACCIMA to explore the potential of the digital economy.
The Minister for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Ms. Pauline Tallen, said there was a need to empower women and people living with disabilities in the digital economy.
She said that the ministry would be willing to collaborate with actors in the digital world to incorporate women and other people with challenges into society.
The event was attended by foreign citizens, industry captains and other interested parties.
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