In line with the NEXT LEVEL agenda that seeks to diversify Nigeria’s economy from oil-based and enhance human capacity development to empower Nigerians with the required digital skills needed to compete favourably in the digital world and provide the enabling environment that will ensure youths become employers of labour and not potential employees, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, renamed and expanded the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy previously known as the Federal Ministry of Communications.
Mr President also set a performance benchmark for all cabinet ministers, a covenant the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM is not taking lightly, building on the fact that public office is a trust.
It was on this backdrop that His Excellency, President Buhari in the capacity as the Special Guest of Honour today officially:
1. Launched and unveiled the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025;
2. Commissioned the Communications and Digital Economy Complex;
3. Commissioned the Abuja Emergency Communication Center and National Emergency Toll – Free Number 112 and
4. Flagged off the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training.
The august occasion was held at the Communications and Digital Economy Complex Abuja and heard in attendance, top government functionaries, key players in the ICT industry, tech entrepreneurs, tech evangelist, among others.
Full text of the speech of the His Excellency, President Buhari
I am delighted to commission a number of projects today, all of which will enhance the development of our National Digital Economy and support our efforts at diversifying the economy.
2. The dwindling price of crude oil has adversely affected our budgetary projections and has increased our sense of urgency with regard to the diversification of the economy. The Digital Economy will also support us in fighting corruption through digitalization and enabling government digital services.
3. Digital technologies have become a useful platform for economic diversification. Having recognized the benefits of these technologies we have decided to adopt the Digital Economy paradigm early. This informed our decision to expand the schedule of the Federal Ministry of Communications to include the Digital Economy mandate, in line with global best practices. The Ministry has since developed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for the realization of Digital Nigeria which we unveiled last year. We are also aware that mechanisms have been put in place for its implementation.
4. The development of the National Broadband Plan is in line with the objective of the Federal Government to provide broadband for Nigerians. The Plan is also expected to support our objective of deploying 4G across the country.
5. The Federal Government is aware of the challenges that the operators face, including the challenge of vandalisation of telecommunications equipment. We are committed to ensuring that all stakeholders have a conducive environment to ensure the successful implementation of the Broadband Plan.
6. I have directed the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to work with all relevant government agencies to ensure that our critical national infrastructure are protected. I therefore urge the Mobile Network Operators to ensure full attainment of the targets set in the plan and to also give special attention to unserved and underserved areas while deploying their services.
7. The commissioning of the Emergency Communications Centre and Toll Free Number ‘112’ further demonstrate our resolve to keep Nigerians safe. We have taken advantage of digital technologies to ensure that Nigerians in distress are only a dial away from the relevant emergency response institutions in the country. This will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve the security of lives and property.
8. The Digital Nigeria Programme is one of Federal Government’s key initiatives that will empower innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in our emerging digital economy. It is part of our efforts to ensure that our youths, women, unemployed graduates and people living with disabilities either become employers of labour or get a large number of well-paying jobs thereby contributing to the national drive of lifting Nigerians out of poverty.
9. The Commissioning of Communications and Digital Economy Complex will provide a benefitting coordinating centre for our new focus on the Nigerian Digital Economy. It signals the desire to intensify efforts towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an active participant in the Global Digital Economy.
10. I must commend the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission, the Presidential Committee and all stakeholders who participated in the development of this National Broadband Plan. I also thank the leadership of the Ministry for the high level of synergy that has been created amongst the parastatals under its supervision.
11. I hereby commission and unveil these programmes and look forward to the commitment of all stakeholders towards ensuring the full implementation of the Broadband Plan and successful execution of the other programmes.
Thank you and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Honourable Minister