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FG TO PROTECT TELECOM INFRASTRUCTURES - DR PANTAMI
Super User Written by January 26, 2020

Building on the fact that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has leapfrogged Oil and Gas in contribution to Nigeria's GDP, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM has disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria has officially directed security agencies to protect telecom infrastructures against vandalism, theft, hooliganism and other forms of negative vices.

This honest, upright and progressive NEXT LEVEL Prime Mover Minister stated that the move is part of an effort to create an enabling environment that can attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and drive a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.

The young, energetic and vibrant Minister made this disclosure today while making his remarks during the Premier of Airtel Touching Lives Season 5 which was held in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Honourable Minister also informed the gathering that the Issue of Right of Way (RoW) has been resolved following his systematic approach of addressing the Nigerian State Governors collectively in a bid to accelerate broadband penetration in Nigeria, cleanse the sector out of corruption and position it on the path of progress.

The Honourable Minister also commended Airtel Nigeria for its initiative to give back to society as part of it's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Dr Pantam maintained that givers never lack. He said, " the Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility Include:

1. Brand Recognition;

2. Improved Reputation of the Company;

3. Improved Image and

4. Customer Loyalty

Present at the gathering was the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Ghana, represented by the Ghana Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Ooni of Ife: Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi among others.

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Minister

 

 

Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, Professor Mohammed Abubakar, Mr. Hadi Mohammed, Executive Director, Finance & Admin, Permanent Secretary, Musa Istifanus, Oyo State Deputy Governor, Aderemi R. Olalekan, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Ali (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, Chairman NIGCOMSAT Board, ARC. Yusuf Kazaure Managing Director NIGCOMSAT, Ms. Abimbola Alale, Ja’Afaru Bambale, Executive Director Technical and Dr. Najeem Salaam, Executive Director Marketing & Business Development during the inauguration of the NIGCOMSAT Board
Super User Written by January 27, 2020

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Ali (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM has inaugurated a governing committee of the e-Government training Centre to facilitate training of civil servant in digital skills in the country.

The Committee which comprises of members from relevant government agencies from Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Public Service Institute of Nigeria |(PSIN) was inaugurated at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja.

The Minister said in compliance with the directive of Mr. President to the Ministry to ensure digitalization process of government activities, the training center would provide civil servants basic, intermediate and advance training skills base on the role they play in their various MDAs.

He said, “in order to ensure that at least we implement the directives given to us. Firstly, we commissioned the center, the center has been handed over to us since November 2019 by KOICA, however, before formal handover we started using the center to train civil servants”.

Pantami expressed that government intends to establish training centers in the geo-political zones in the country to make it easier for civil servants to be trained in their zones.

Among the terms of reference to the committee are to establish the legal and regulatory framework requirement, review and monitor the operational procedure, and to provide a strategy to ensure the sustainability of the center and oversee its implementation.

Others are to monitor and ensure the facility and technology management of the center meets global standards and to develop and implement strategy towards attracting funding, collaborations and expanding the center.

The Committee is jointly chaired by the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, and the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone Limited, Professor Mohammed Abubakar.

In a related event, the Honourable Minister inaugurated the Chairman and members of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) Board and urged them to ensure the recently approved satellite infrastructure company and the satellite Broadband and Broadcasting company take off immediately.

According to him, “These two companies are very apt and they came at the right time. You have to hit the ground running immediately because we are trying to ensure that NIGCOMSAT is not only competitive in Nigeria but at least in Africa and Asia”.

In his respond, the Chairman of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Arc. Yusuf Kazaure thanked the Honourable Minister for the expression of support and marching order along the line of the new vision for NIGCOMSAT.

“We will make effort to be part of the drive to achieve digital economy and look forward to create necessary partnership with the agencies within the Ministry, other agencies outside the Ministry as well as other ICT ecosystem”. He stressed.

The inaugurated members of the NIGCOMSAT Board were ARC. Yusuf Kazaure (Chairman), Mr. Hadi Mohammed, Executive Director, Finance & Admin, Abdu Ja’Afaru Bambale, Executive Director Technical and Dr. Najeem Salaam, Executive Director Marketing & Business Development

 

Source: Press Unit, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy

 

 

DATA IS KEY IN DRIVING A DIGITAL ECONOMY FOR A DIGITAL NIGERIA – DR PANTAMI
Super User Written by January 29, 2020

In line with the vision of His Excellency, President Muhammdu Buhari's led administration to drive a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM has reiterated the importance of harnessing data for National Economic Development, stressing that the Digital Economy relies solely on Data.

The Tech Savvy Minister made this known today while making his remarks as a Special Guest of Honour during the National Privacy Week Public Awareness Workshop 2020 organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) with the theme: DATA PRIVACY IN A DIGITAL ECONOMY, which was held at NAF Conference Center, Abuja.

The workshop was aimed at:

1. Understanding the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR);

2. The implication of the NDPR on the Digital Economy Policy and Strategy;

3. Rights of Data Subjects and

4. Roles of CEOs & Management in Data Protection.

Dr Pantami also called on the gathering to embrace Digital Platforms in their day to day transactions, maintaining that under his watch as the Chief ICT Policy Maker in Nigeria, no government at any level or Private Entity will abuse the data of Nigerians.

The NEXT LEVEL Minister further stated that looking at the youthful population of Nigeria that is blessed with digital natives that are addicted to technology, the time is right for all Nigerian to embrace the digital transformation.

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Minister

 

 

FACEBOOK TO EXPAND BROADBAND PENETRATION IN NIGERIA
Super User Written by January 23, 2020

The Facebook Infrastructure team, led by Network Investments, Emerging Market Lead of Facebook, Mr Ibrahima Ba were at the Ministry's Corporate Headquarters, Abuja to pay a courtesy visit on the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM and also explore possible areas of collaboration and further key into the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy unveiled and launched recently by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for a Digital Nigeria.

Mr Ba also informed the Tech-Savvy Honourable Minister of the plan of Facebook to partner with the Nigerian Government in the areas of Broadband Penetration and Digital Literacy and Skills Development in a bid to support the pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

In his remarks, the active, vibrant, young and focused Honourable Minister, pledged the Federal Government of Nigeria openness to a partnership with the Tech Giant. The Minister said, "Facebook as a Social Networking Platform is one of the major stakeholders we have in Nigeria with most Nigerians addicted to the social network platform.",

Dr Pantami also informed the Facebook team that the National Executive Council of Nigeria chaired by the Vice President of the Country, Prof Yemi Osinbajo have agreed on N145.5 per linear meter as the price of Right of Way (RoW) and called on the team to honour the laws of the land while deploying the proposed broadband infrastructures.

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Minister

MINISTER INAUGURATES GOVERNING COMMITTEE OF EGOVERNMENT TRAINING CENTRE
Super User Written by January 23, 2020

As part of an ongoing collaboration between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the South Korea Republic to enhance capacity building, skills development and bridge the digital divide in Nigeria, the Korean Government through the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), built and donated an eGovernment training centre to Nigeria.

The centre was officially commissioned and received by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM on November 15th 2019.

Borne out of the need to ensure that the centre is effectively utilized for the sole purpose it was designed for, the NEXT LEVEL Focused and Progressive Thinking Honourable Minister today officially inaugurated the Governing Committee of the training centre which is co-chaired by heads of Agencies under the supervision of the Ministry in persons of the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi and the Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Ltd, Prof. Muhammad Bello Abubakar.

The Terms of Reference (TOR) for the 11 man committee Include (s):

1. Attend and contribute to all meetings.

2. Establishing the legal and regulatory requirements for the centre.

3. Review and Monitor the operational procedures of the centre.

4. Provide a strategy to ensure the sustainability of the centre and oversee its implementation.

5. Monitor and ensure the facility and technology management of the centre meets global standards.

6. Develop and implement strategy towards attracting funding, collaborations and expanding the centre.

In his remarks, The Honourable Minister also charged the committee to come up with a strategy and framework that will drive a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria in-line with the eGovernment Master plan approved by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria, the highest decision-making body in the Country in which the Minister happens to be a member.

Dr Pantami also maintained that most Civil Servants in Nigeria requires training and re-training in e-Governance to deliver effective and efficient services to Nigerians in line with the blueprint of the rebirth Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under his watch that focuses more on promoting a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.

The eGovernment training centre is located at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) in Abuja.

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Minister

STATE GOVERNORS RESOLVE TO ADDRESS RIGHT OF WAY CHALLENGES
Super User Written by January 23, 2020

The State Governors under the auspices of the Governors’ Forum resolved to address the lingering issue of Right of Way (RoW) charges in a bid to deepen broadband penetration in the country and promote a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.

The resolution followed a presentation made by Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, during the meeting of the Governors’ Forum held on the 22nd of January, 2020. He was accompanied to the meeting by Prof Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency and Funke Opeke, Chairperson of the Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).

Dr Pantami discussed the many benefits that an increase in broadband access can have on the economy of the various States. He noted that one of the key benefits is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of any country that increases its broadband penetration. He then urged the State Governors to adopt the 2013 resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC) which agreed on a maximum RoW charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.

In response, the Governors acknowledged the benefits of broadband penetration and the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, His Excellency, Dr. Fayemi, stated that the Honourable Minister should consider the matter resolved. There will no longer be any need to appeal to the Governors on the issue of RoW.

In addition to the discussion on the RoW, the Honourable Minister also discussed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which was unveiled by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 28th of November 2019. Dr Pantami urged the State Governors to key into the Policy and Strategy. He also informed them of the plan of the Federal Government to help the States with a Digital Economy Strategy, through Policy, Digital Skills and other areas of intervention.

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy would like to sincerely thank the Chairman and members of the Governors Forum for their support in resolving the RoW challenge.

 

Dr ‘Femi Adeluyi
Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the
Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy
Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy
Federal Secretariat, Abuja
22nd January, 2020

DR PANTAMI DRIVES PRESIDENT BUHARI’S VISION, COMMISSIONS IT COMMUNITY CENTRE
Super User Written by January 21, 2020

On 28th November 2019, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, launched and unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria which is made up of 8 pillars that include Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills Development, Service Infrastructure, Solid Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Promotion, Soft Infrastructure, Digital Society and Emerging Technologies and lastly Indigenous Content Development.

It is on this backdrop that the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM popularly described by social media pundits as action Minister, the NEXT LEVEL Prime Mover officially commissioned the Community IT Centre in Hadejia, Jigawa State.

It will be recalled that only last month, the Honourable Minister similarly commissioned an IT Innovation Hub / Incubation Centre at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Which is in-line with the blueprint of the rebirth Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

The IT Community Centre is also in-tune with the Ministry’s vision under the leadership of Dr Pantami to create an enabling environment where digital innovation will thrive and ensure Nigeria becomes a digital powerhouse globally.

The projects executed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) are aimed at enhancing skills development, bridge the digital divide and promote innovative digital solutions that will address challenges facing the country.

In his remarks, Dr Pantami urged the beneficiaries to take full advantage of the centre, stressing that possessing digital skills is of great advantage in today’s global world when compared to degrees or certificates.

The Minister informed the gathering that the riches people in the world today are those who have invested their time in coming up with disruptive innovative ideas such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos and further encouraged the benefactors to take full advantage of the centre and aspire to be like them.

On his part, His Excellency, Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for citing the project in Jigawa State.

The Governor encouraged his people to take full advantage of the centre, maintaining that ICT is the best business any individual can venture into at this present time.

 

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Minister

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, MCPN and IBM Country General Manager Mr Dipo Faulkner at the signing ceremony of MoU for Digital Skill Development held in the Ministry Headquarters, Abuja
Super User Written by January 18, 2020

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, MCPN on Thursday 16th January 2020 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the Federal Government with Tech giant, International Business Machines (IBM) West Africa, for partnership and collaboration in the area of Digital Skills development in Nigeria.

The partnership which gives impetus to the digital, innovation and Entreprenuership skills of the economic development plan of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, is a quantum leap in the Digital Economy strategy of the Ministry. The MoU provides a platform to empower  Nigerian youths with digital literacy skills, to enable innovation, design and development of indigenous solutions, self sufficiency and make Nigeria a hub for critical skills for Africa and the world at large.

Under the partnership, and in line with the Digital Literacy initiative and drive of Dr Pantami, IBM will through its Digital Nation Africa Initiative, provide free training to Nigerians for a period of 12 to 16 weeks, in diverse areas of Information Technology. The objectives of the MoU are mainly to:

1.   Create awareness and support in the development and use of digital tools and applications to improve the delivery of government services;

2.   Create a pool of Nigerians with digital skills validated by globally recognized certifications;

3.   Bridge the gap between the academia and the industry through sensitization on digital tools and skills; and

4.   Lower the access barrier to digital tools for the citizens.

Addressing IBM representatives led by the Country General Manager, the Honourable Minister expressed satisfaction at the organisation’s response to the Digital Economy policy by, sufficiently keying in, to bridge the divide between the academia and the industry, education and entrepreneurship.

Dr Pantami noted that “to achieve a Digital Economy, digital skills are central, and this has been adequately captured in the second pillar of the Digital Economy Strategy Policy Document as approved and launched by the President on the 28th of November 2019”. The Minister further disclosed that the importance of Broadband in the implementation of a Digital Economy is the life line to its success and this again has been reflected in the seventh pillar of the strategy document. “The importance of broadband penetration in achieving a digital economy has given rise to the National Broadband Committee to ensure that we thoroughly address the impediments to broadband penetration and achieving a Digital Economy”.

Pantami encouraged institutions of learning to give priority to skills, especially digital skills over paper qualifications as according to him, “digital skills are more relevant in today’s world of emerging technologies, therefore we must encourage innovation and drive digital literacy and skills among the populace”.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony which held at the Minister’s conference room in Abuja, the Country General Manager Mr Dipo Faulkner, stated that “IBM works with governments and key Ministries to address the societal impact of digital technology, leveraging our investment in education with platforms such as IBM Digital Nation Africa. This new collaboration furthers our aims of scaling digital job skills across Africa”.

The programme is scheduled to take off in February 2020.

 

 

Signed

Uwa Suleiman (Mrs)

Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy

16th January 2020

DR PANTAMI IS A MAN OF INTEGRITY - PROF OGUNDIPE
Super User Written by January 16, 2020

The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has described the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM as a man of unquestionable integrity who keeps to his promise.

The Vice Chancellor made his position known today when he led the management of the institution to a courtesy visit to appreciate the Honourable Minister for the various IT intervention projects donated to the institution aimed at enhancing research and learning.

The VC also invited the Honourable Minister, Dr Pantami to deliver a lecture at the upcoming convocation ceremony of the institution scheduled to hold in March.

In his remarks, the NEXT LEVEL vibrant, energetic and focused Minister, Dr Pantami pledged the Ministry’s commitment under his watch to bridge the gap between academia and industry, stressing that skills are very important and critical in driving a digital economy in Nigeria.

The Honourable Minister said “in Nigeria today, we are producing many potential employees and fewer potential employers”, adding that “in technology and most importantly in digital technology, if you can marry both degrees and skills that is the best, however, if it's only one, then skills have priority over certificates”.

Dr Pantami maintained that there is a need to think outside the box and enhance the skills of the younger generation through mentorship to drive a digital economy and position the country on the path of prosperity.

 

Source: Mr Yusuf Abubakar, Personal Assistant (New Media) to The Minister

 

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FROWNS AT THE STATE GOVERNMENTS’ DISREGARD OF RIGHT OF WAY CHARGE AGREEMENT
Super User Written by January 16, 2020

We received with dismay the decision of some states of the Federation to increase the Right of Way charges in disregard of the resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC).

It may be recalled that in 2013, NEC set up a Committee comprising State Governors and Ministers to review the issues of multiple taxation in the telecommunications Industry in Nigeria and its impact. The Committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonize the taxes applicable to broadband related activities and streamline the taxation management processes across the Federation. Specifically, to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the country, the Committee agreed to the uniform Right of Way (RoW) charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.

It may also be recalled that in October 2019, we had written to all the State Governors, drawing their attention to these resolutions and soliciting their support and collaboration towards the realisation of the National Digital Economy by fast-tracking the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of affordable internet services to underserved and unserved areas.

It is true that the digital economy today is strategically dominating the world economy. Oxford Economics puts the current value of the digital economy at $11.5 trillion which is about 16% of the world economy. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum revealed that 60% of the global economy is expected to be digitised by 2022. With the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as well as the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy by Mr President, we are on the path of realising the potentials of the digital economy.

It is however disheartening to hear that some States have decided to disregard these resolutions and have, in some cases, increased the RoW charges by over 1,200%. This will no doubt impact negatively on the efforts being made by the Federal Government. It is established that there is a strong correlation between a country’s broadband penetration and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An ITU study on Africa indicates that a 10% broadband penetration would result in an increase of 2.5% of GDP per capita.

We are therefore calling on all State Governors, especially those that have made public their decisions to increase the RoW charges, to reconsider these decisions in the interest of Nigerians as well as for the socio-economic growth and development of the country. We also draw their attention that these decisions, if implemented, will result in an increase on the costs of operations of the telecoms operators which will naturally be passed to the consumers.

 

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM
Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy
Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy
Federal Secretariat, Abuja
14th January, 2020