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Experts worried on Minister’s poor knowledge of existing ICT roadmaps

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One of the key comments of the Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu while addressing the State House Correspondents after last week’s federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was that part of the targets of the approved new 3-year ICT roadmap between 2017 – 2020 is to achieve broadband penetration by 30 per cent come 2020, has raised serious disquiet in the sector.

The Minister had announced after last week’s FEC meeting, presided by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that government has approved a 3-year ICT roadmap between 2017-2020, saying “Today, we are happy that at last, the ICT roadmap 2017 – 2020 has been approved for implementation by the government”.

He went ahead to add that the new road map will among other things push broadband penetration to 30 per cent by 2020.

However, several industry expert who barred their minds on the goof noted that the target of 30 per cent penetration has been a target set for 2018 by previous administration and that currently, the target is almost being met as the nation, according to the statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that Nigeria has covered over 26 per cent at the end of first quarter of this year.

One of the stakeholders who pleaded anonymity said “In fact, I heard him on a national TV saying that, but I wouldn’t know from where the Minister got his statistics”.

“If the new roadmap that was approved by FEC during the meeting is really targeting 30 per cent in 2020, it then means that something is seriously wrong at the ministerial level and by extension, the so called new roadmap that will terminate in 2020.

Continuing, the expert said “It is either he was not well briefed or the team of experts that prepared the new document are not in touch with the level of achievements so far made in the sector and latest realities in the industry”.

“I want to thank you (Business Hilights) for mustering the rare courage not only in noticing the error, but as you though it wise to point it out. This is commendable and it shows seriousness, good knowledge of the sector and good sense of patriotism in the Nigerian project.

“Again, I want use this opportunity to inform the minister of the major issue trending in the sector so that he can use his good office to situate and handle it.  Am referring to the need to immediately review the data price floor, in order to encourage massive investments in the sub-sector. The way it is now, data networks are suffering and many may collapse soon because the current pricing indices are not viable and sustainable.

Many of the stakeholders however, said what the new roadmap can only do is to set out new target of penetration that must be more than 30 per cent which is almost achieved or will be achieved before the end of 2017.

Whereas some stakeholders saw the goof as an error, others say the Minister seemed to have lost touch of the industry recalling that he had some time in April announced that NIPOST will effective May 1, this year, start to render digital banking services which have not happened up till now even as we enter the third week of June.

Checks in some Lagos Post offices showed that many of the staff are not even aware of any plans by the government to begin digital banking services and there are no sign of new infrastructures to drive the said services in visited Post offices.

Business Hilights recalls that Shittu also added in the briefing that apart from creating over 2.5 million jobs, the approval of the 3-year ICT roadmap will encourage investors to key in and grow the sector within the period of the roadmap.

Efforts to contact the minister and the NCC for further comments at press time failed.


Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.