The federal government made N408.7 billion through the sale of spectrum and taxes in the Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) sector, according to data released yesterday by the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.
Speaking at a press briefing ahead of the 2022 Digital Nigeria Day, Pantami noted that the ICT sector provided 3 unprecedented contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in the last 3 years, namely 14.07% in Q1 2020, 17.92% in Q2 2021 and 18.44% in Q3 2022.
“Also, the ICT sector grew by 14.70% in Q4 2020, making it the fastest-growing sector of the Nigerian economy in the last quarter of 2020 and the only sector to have grown by double digits.
“Furthermore, the quarterly revenues also generated for the federal government rose from N51.3 billion to N408.7 billion, through spectrum sales and taxes from the sector,” he said.
This, according to him, played a critical role in enabling Nigeria to exit the recession, adding that the sector has been sustaining the nation’s economy more than even petroleum.
The minister further noted that ICT was pivotal in helping the nation emerge from the recession and has been responsible for sustaining the country’s economy.
He said over 863,372 citizens benefited from digital skills programmes and we have agreements with leading global companies like Microsoft and Huawei, to train millions of Nigerians.
“On assumption of office on the 21st of August 2019, the official broadband penetration figures stood at 33.72% and today it is 44.65%, representing close to 13 million new broadband users.
“Similarly, there were 13,823 4G base stations and we now have 36,751, representing a 165.86% increase. The percentage of 4G coverage across the country also increased from 23% to 77.52%.
“Additionally, the cost of data has crashed from N1,200 per GB to about N350, making it easier for Nigerians to connect to the Internet,” he added.
He added that the ministry had created an IT clearance portal to enhance interoperability, get rid of redundancy, and guarantee value for money while implementing ICT projects in the nation.
“The quarterly savings from the IT projects’ clearance process rose from N12.45 million to N10.57 billion,” he noted
Pantami stated that the government aims to create a pool of Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) to accelerate the development of Nigeria’s digital economy.
“Through our efforts, 355,610 direct and indirect jobs were created. Privacy concerns are also being addressed through the newly established Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB).
“The drafting of the data protection bill has reached an advanced stage. The Digital Identity enrolments have also been very successful, with issued National Identification Numbers (NINs) rising from less than 40 million to over 90 million,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Kashifu Inuwa, the director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said, the day was designated in 2020 as Digital Nigeria to promote the digital economy in the country.
Inuwa said it would be a week-long event to celebrate what the various agencies under the ministry have been doing to drive Nigeria to a digital economy.