Nigeria Set To Invest $25 Billion in ICT & Still Pursuing A Further $25 Billion More Investment
During the launching of an ambitious broadband campaign dubbed ‘Connected Nigeria, Connected Nigeria’. The Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson unveiled another remarkable plan the Nigerian government is working on. It was made public that the Nigerian Federal Government is gearing up to double its investment in the ICT sector from the initial $25 billion budget to a $50 billion budget in the future.
The Nigerian Government is said to embark on looking for the extra $25 billion funding from the private sector in the form of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The Minister of Communication Technology told the public that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been doing rounds all over the globe looking for prospective international investors who can in invest in its ICT sector. Johnson stated the fact that currently the Nigerian broadband penetration currently stands in the range of 6-7 percent.
She said her ministry is working hard to bring all stakeholders on board to come up with policies which will ensure that the National Broadband 2013-2018 implementations will be realized. The minister said, “To ensure that the Plan is monitored, we set up the Broadband council in 2013 to ensure proper monitoring of the Broadband Plan implementation”. This move by the Nigerian government seems as an appreciation of the great economic potential Nigerians stand to gain from ICT. As of now, the ICT sectors makes up 8% of Nigeria’s GDP earnings. The minister showed her ministry’s commitment to the growth and development of ICT, by drawing the public’s attention back to the MoU that was signed between the Lagos State government and the operators. She said this was a very strong demonstration of her ministry’s commitment in creating a suitable environment for businesses in Nigeria.
The said MoU resulted to considerable reduction in the cost of fiber optic deployment by a margin of 85%. The ministry is set to take similar initiative to see the cost of the Right of Way (RoW) is reduced by a similar margin thus quicken the process of the infrastructure deployment. The minister said that the objective of the broadband campaign was to make Nigerians appreciate what having access to broadband access means and the potential benefits they could gain from using broadband connectivity. This campaign target was the individual internet users and sensitizes him/her on things like cyber security and online protection among other things.
This move by the ministry to reduce the cost of RoW was highly commended by the President of Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Member, Broadband Council, Mr. Lanre Ajayi. He also called upon the operators to adapt co-location initiative which according to him has been a big factor for success in achieving broadband penetration.