The Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami has said that COVID -19 was a blessing in disguise as the Ministry and its agencies have leverage on the pandemic to improve the sector and the Nigerian economy.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy said this on Voice of Nigeria News and Current Affairs programme “IN THE NEWS”.
Dr. Pantami noted that even in the era of Corona Virus pandemic the ICT sector contributed 14.07% to the Nigerian GDP in the first quarter of 2020. This he noted was an indication that the Digital Economy was gradually becoming one of the major & strong income earner to the nation’s economic growth.
He said even though Covid-19 has its negative sides the ministry and its agencies have figured out the best way on how to leverage on Covid -19 and turn things around in the country.
“Let me display the result to you, the contribution of Digital Economy or rather Digital Technology or ICT to our GDP in the first quarter of 2020 is unprecedented, ICT contributed 14.0% to our GDP. This has never happened in the history of Nigeria and this is what we are all proud of and that all our policies put in places are yielding a positive result, 14.07%, this is unprecedented it has never happened so we are all cheering, we’re all smiling, and we’re all happy that the policies we’re implementing are yielding a positive result that is not ok for us it’s not enough we always try to set a record” the Minister said.
Dr. Pantami reiterated that another mile stone achieved by the Ministry was the coordinating and conducting of virtual meetings of the Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, this is the nation’s highest decision making body chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari & supported by the vice President, Prof.Yemi Osinbajo and the Ministers. This Dr Pantami noted that it has cut cost drastically in governance.
“We coordinated and conducted a virtual Federal Executive Council chaired by Mr. President being supported by the vice President and the Ministers, so this was unprecedented and with all sense of humility I am glad that we conducted it successfully and is ongoing now and even by tomorrow there is going to be another virtual Federal Executive Council that we are coordinating, so this is in summary the good aspect of it” He stated.
The Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, Dr. Pantami, also maintained that with Digital skills individuals and organizations are now conducting meetings virtually which in turn saves cost and help in the actualization of a Digital Nigeria.
“People do not need to travel unnecessarily to Kano, Maiduguri, Lagos, Port Harcourt, we are conducting meetings virtually, many people that were running away from digital skills are now learning on how to use the applications, I think these are some of the areas that we look into it positively and we think it will push us to fast track the implementation of our policy, that is why our digital economy, our plan initially was 2020 to 2030 but now we are trying to fast track the implementation because the challenge compels us to do that, so this is in summary what we can say”
The Minister added that “So our target now is beyond contribution to GDP how can we come up with some policies that we can touch the lives of our fellow Nigerians positively, directly, not only those in Abuja including those people in our towns, rural areas where they have digital technologies, so this is the positive aspect of it”.