Being a Speech Presented By The Chief Host Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), PhD, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, Minister, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigeria at the COMMISSIONING OF DIGITAL ECONOMY PROJECTS FOR A DIGITAL NIGERIA (BATCH 12) on Thursday, 19th August, 2021
All Protocols duly observed.
May Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!
I am highly delighted to commission and launch the 12th Batch of Digital Economy projects on behalf of our boss, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. Today's event even holds a greater level of significance as it marks almost 2 years since I was given the privilege and honour of serving as a Minister, on the 21st of August, 2019.
The 8 projects being commissioned today are part of the Policies of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and are being supervised by the Ministry. In line with our general approach for locating projects, these projects are situated in all the 6 geopolitical zones of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Today we will be commissioning the following projects:
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC), Makurdi, Benue State (North Central);
- Virtual Examination Centre, College of Education, Argungu, Kebbi State (North West);
- E-Accessibility Centre, Alderstown Schools for the Deaf, Warri, Delta State (South South);
- E-Health/Data Sharing Project, Leko Abdulrahman Hospital, Daura, Katsina State (North West);
- Digital Economy Centre & E-Learning Facilities, Ogba Grammar Shool, Lagos State (South West);
- Digital Economy Centre & E-Learning Facilities, St Paul Secondary School, Eke, Enugu State (South East);
- Digital Economy Centre & E-Learning Facilities, Federal Character Commission, Abuja (North Central); and
- E-Accessibility Centre, Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children School, Bauchi State (North East).
(A) 1,667 ICT PROJECTS AND CENTRES (455 OTHERS ONGOING)
The 8 projects represent a very small percentage (less that 0.5%) of the 1,667 projects and programmes that we have established across the country in less than 2 years. In addition to those already established, we have over 455 other projects and programmes that are ongoing. All these are in full alignment with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria.
The 1,667 projects and programmes include the following:
- 24 Emergency Communication Centres;
- 4 Virtual Examination Centres;
- 4 eHealth/Data Sharing Centres;
- 80 Digital Awareness Program (DAP) Centres;
- 74 Advance Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI);
- 4 Digital Industrial Parks;
- 6 ICT Innovation and Incubation Park/Hubs;
- 80 Digital Capacity Training Centres (DCTC);
- 80 E-Learning Facilities attached to DCTCs;
- 6 Community ICT Centres;
- 1 National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR);
- 17 Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centers (TIKC);
- 249 School Knowledge Centers (SKC);
- 24 E-Accessibility Projects;
- 80 Digital Economy Centres (DECs);
- 80 E-Learning Facilities attached to DECs;
- Laying of 19.1Km of fibre cable to expand reach and coverage to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), covering 28 MDAs; and several others.
(B) 219,198 CITIZENS BENEFITTED FROM DIRECT DIGITAL SKILLS TRAININGS.
As a Ministry, we have consistently reflected our strong belief in the importance of creating a critical mass of highly skilled citizens as a prerequisite for developing a sustainable digital economy. In the last 2 years, we have offered direct world class training to well over 219,198 citizens in digital skills and emerging technologies. This number does not include the many citizens that have benefited from trainings through our Centres.
We have offered these mass trainings as part of our efforts to promote a paradigm shift from the general societal focus on degrees to a strong focus on skills. Listed below are some the training programmes that were implemented:
- Capacity Building Programme for Artisans -1,120;
- ICT Training and Empowerment for Women- 200;
- Training of Persons Living with Disabilities- 102;
- Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) training- 296;
- Streamlined Capacity Building Programme for Virtual Libraries- 150;
- Training on Digital Identity for Development- 30;
- GSM Phone Repairs Training -1,858;
- Digital Job Creation Training – 960;
- VSAT Installation Core Skills- 600;
- Digital Nigeria and NITDA Academy Online Academies- 212,000;
- Capacity Building for IT Intervention Centre Managers- 200;
- Capacity Building and Certification for Digital Transformation Technical Working Group- 442;
- Capacity Building for Members of Civil Society- 30;
- Capacity Building through National Adopted School for Smart Education (NASSE)- 530; and several others.
(C.) 16 NATIONAL POLICIES DEVELOPED
We have not adopted an ad-hoc approach towards the development of Nigeria’s digital economy. Rather, we have followed a systematic and well-thought-out approach and this required the development and implementation of National Policies. We have developed 16 National Policies- 15 of them focus on specific pillars in the general National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria. These National Policies are as follows:
- National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy 2020-2030 (NDEPS);
- Roadmap for the Implementation of the NDEPS;
- Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025;
- SIM Card Registration Policy;
- Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration;
- National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector;
- National Policy on Virtual Engagements in the Federal Public Institutions;
- National Policy on Device Management;
- National Policy on Digital Identity for Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria;
- National Policy on VSAT Installation Core Skills for Nigerians;
- Rule Making Process of NIPOST;
- National Dig-Once Policy (Stakeholder Engagement ongoing);
- National Policy on Communication Satellite (Draft);
- National Policy on Fifth Generation (5G) Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy (Draft);
- National Policy for the Management of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics; and
- National Digital Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Startup Policy (Stakeholder Engagement ongoing).
(D.) 61 Million NIN Enrolments
The digital economy is highly dependent on data and scholars have described data as the oil, lifeblood, water and new currency of the digital economy. All these are to reflect its importance in the development of a sustainable digital economy. A robust digital identity programme is critical to robust, secure and sustainable digital economy.
In line with this, a foundational ID provides the data required to unlock the potentials of a digital economy. A 2019 Report by McKinsey states that “digital ID coverage could unlock economic value equivalent to 3 to 13 percent of GDP in 2030."
As part of our efforts in this regard, we have significantly increased the number of National Identification Number (NIN) enrolments since the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) joined the Communications and Digital Economy family in September 2020. From the inception of the NIN enrolment process to September 2020, there were 42 million unique NIN enrolments. Through our supervision, this number role to 61,092,044 NIN Enrolments as at the 11th of August, 2021.
The increase of about 20 million enrolments in less than a year is unprecedented. We have also launched the Android enrolment software and have received Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval for the upgrade of critical ICT infrastructure of the National Identity Management System.
(E.) N1.054 TRILLION REVENUE GENERATED BY THE MINISTRY AND ITS PARASTATALS
The initiatives of the Ministry are geared towards supporting the Federal Government in its 3 main focus areas- economy, security and anti-corruption. Our activities in the Communications and Digital Economy sector have greatly enhanced the economy of Nigeria. For example, the sector played a pivotal role in lifting the Nigerian economy out of recession, with the ICT sector recording the highest growth rate in the 4th Quarter of 2020 (14.70%), as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and stated by Mr. President.
This growth rate was the only double-digit growth rate and it exceeded the aggregate growth rates of all the 2nd to the 7th fastest growing sectors. The ICT sector also had the highest growth rate in the year 2020 and the 1st Quarter of 2021. It is also noteworthy that the telecommunications sub-sector grew at 15.90% and this was its highest growth rate over the past decade.
Additionally, the Ministry and its parastatals have generated over N1 Trillion for the Federal Government in less than 2 years, this translates to an average of about N44 Billion every month or over N1.4 Billion every day! For example, about N360 Billion of this revenue was largely from Spectrum, allocated by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), under the Chairmanship of the Minister, to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for commercial purposes. Another over N600 Billion was paid by ICT Companies to the account of the Federal Government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Furthermore, over Ninety Four Billion Naira (N94,000,000,000) was generated for the Federal Government and approved by the National Assembly in line with relevant laws, as part of the 2020 appropriation for personnel, capital projects, capacity building, interventions, etc. The IT Projects Clearance Programme also saved over Five Billion Naira (N5,478,007,325.23) for the Federal Government.
The statistics and figures discussed earlier were generated from the carious reports submitted by the Ministry and parastatals, as part of my supervision.
As I conclude, I want to use this opportunity to encourage all the host communities and beneficiaries of all our projects and programmes to ensure that they take full advantage of the facilities and skills for the benefit of their communities and the Nation.
I wish to thank all our esteemed partners, stakeholders and members of the Communications and Digital Economy family for supporting us in the last 2 years. We look forward to your continued support and partnership.
The CEOs of all the parastatals under the Ministry have been committed to their responsibilities and I commend them for this. I also urge them to redouble their efforts in ensuring that we keep up the good work of developing Nigeria’s digital economy.
Finally, I wish to sincerely thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the great support that he always gives to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
Once again, thank you for being here, and may the Almighty bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.