By Omobayo Azeez
The Nigerian Communications Commission has expressed belief that 100 million poor Nigerians can be lifted above poverty line through collaborative efforts on promoting information and communication technology (ICT) innovations in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Professor Umaru Danbatta said leveraging on emerging technologies to create jobs resonates with the agenda of the federal government (FG) to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
Danbatta stated this recently at a two-day forum on “Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation” in Nassarawa State where he was represented by Dr. Haru Alhassan, Director, New Media and Information Security at NCC.
The NCC boss affirmed that NCC’s objective for the forum aligns with the Commission’s 8-Point Agenda of promoting investment opportunities and ICT innovation by facilitating strategic partnership and collaboration.
HE emphasized that “the role of ICT Innovators, tech enthusiasts and tech entrepreneurs, whose activities will help in generating employment for the teeming youths, enhance ICT knowledge and skills, increase income and promote overall economic development in the country is central.”
Citing reports by the from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the EVC said that ICT currently contributes 13.9 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), surpassing the contribution of oil and gas sector which is 8.8 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product as at October 2019.
He said, “Telecom sector and by extension, the entire ICT industry has the potential to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.”
This is possible because ICT innovations have the transformational power to impact all sectors of the economy, to impact our lives and to generate unprecedented wealth for Nigeria and individuals, said.
According to him, the activities and telling outcomes at the Silicon Valley in the United States indicate the possibilities derivable from ICTs that is possible in Nigeria, adding: “our aim is to replicate and develop a programme similar to Silicon Valley which we call ‘Silicon WaZoBia’ within the Nigerian ICT ecosystem.”
Danbatta also reflected on the recent Fifth Generation (5G) trials conducted by MTN in Abuja, Calabar and Lagos, under the supervision of the Commission, saying that with 5G, “the country should be ready to witness a greater revolution and transformational impact in economy.
“This development will engender increased usage of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain technology and Big Data – all of which are expected to become the next phase of ICT deployment that users will interface with for boosting efficiency and effectiveness in their operations.”
He further said the industry will achieve greater development and growth with the Federal Government’s supportive policies and directives, and with continuous consultation and formulation of regulations that will promote regulatory excellence and operational efficiency in the industry.
He said measures will be put in place to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and local investment.
Accordingly, the EVC solicited the support of all stakeholders noting that it is a collective responsibility of all relevant stakeholders in the telecom and ICT industry to ensure the consolidation of the gains of the sector.