The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has emphasised the need for government, private sector and individuals to prioritise digital access for economic benefits and development globally.
Pantami said this at the one-day workshop organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in collaboration with the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Tuesday, August 23, in Abuja.
The workshop had the theme: ‘‘Building Capabilities for Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Transformation in Nigeria’’.
He urged governments and individuals to take the issue of prioritising digital access and skills seriously, adding that they were no longer luxuries but necessities.
The Minister said;
Digital access and connectivity have become a necessity, as they play an increasingly vital role in our everyday lives and have become key drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This reiterates the fact that digital connectivity, access, and skills are no longer a luxury, but have become a necessity for human and economic development in both developed and developing countries.
It is therefore important that governments, individuals and communities prioritise affordable access digital technologies.
The minister further noted that there was the need to promote universal access to digital infrastructure, enhanced digital skills and address affordability in order to achieve this.
The Nigerian government had developed 18 policies that were implemented to drive the country’s digital economy, which was in the bid to close the digital access gap.
For Nigeria, this is what we have done as part of our efforts to adequately position Nigerians as major participants in the growing global digital economy.
We developed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.
One of the implementation strategies of the Solid Infrastructure Pillar is the development of a Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP).”
He, however, assured that implementation of the plan would accelerate the penetration of affordable and quality broadband connectivity, thereby increasing digital access in Nigeria.
He also said that government recognises the enormity of the task of closing the digital access gaps.
The Nigerian Government understands that enormous private sector support, as well as support from International Organisations, are essential to enable us realise our lofty goals for Nigeria’s digital economy.
This has informed our decision to partner with key international organisations like the ITU and FCDO.
Lack of access is as a result of challenges such as the cost of connectivity, lack of digitally skilled citizens and inadequate infrastructure, amongst others.