…Contributes over $10 bn
From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Minister of Communications, Barr. Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, has said that with the upsurge in telephone density cutting across the technology platforms, the telecoms industry has contributed immensely to economic growth.
Delivering a keynote address at the 2016 Information Communication Technology & Telecommunication Expo (2016 ICTEL EXPO) organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, the minister said the Smart Digital Nigeria project was a suitable ICT platform for diversification of the economy.
According to a statement by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Victor Oluwadamilare, Barr. Shittu said that the mobile ecosystem currently contributes over $10 billion to the economy and that mobile services have the potential to enable Nigerians benefit from the exchange of information for business and social needs for increase productivity.
Shittu said the global quest for ICT for development was enormous to both developed and developing countries because ICT skills are critical to the success of enhancing national development in a globalised era.
Said he: “In this regard, our government is focused on creating opportunities for citizenship participation in ICT training, knowledge and skills acquisition, and general application and usage of ICT tools to solve problems, promote their wellbeing and enhance national growth.
“No doubt, with the dwindling revenue from the oil and gas sector, the Federal Government has realised more than ever before that telecommunication and ICT are among the main drivers for the social and economic development of Nigeria and play a vital role in enhancing access to basic services in all sectors of our national life.”
Shittu gave assurance that the government would provide the needed enabling environment for the ICT and telecommunication sector to thrive through enactment of relevant legislations, saying: “With the e-government masterplan implementation, government’s attention on e-governance as the nucleus to drive other automation and IT agenda, is assured under my very watch. I want to also charge you to continue to connect businesses and create businesses and opportunities for Nigerians in the ICT sector.”
“The Change Mantra of this administration comes in different colourations.
Information:Hardship will be over soon – NOA
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called on Nigerians to be resilient, saying that the current hardship in the country would be over in a matter of time.
NOA said that no society was immune from turbulence and challenges, noting that other countries had gone through similar challenges in their national development process.
Director General of NOA, Garba Abari, stated this when he paid a courtesy visit on the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Bayo Onanuga in Abuja.
He stated that there was a high level of mistrust between the citizenry, which the government needed to confront through proper information management, hence the need for collaboration between the two agencies.
“With the dwindling economy, which constitutes greater challenge to meeting national obligations, there is need to tell Nigerians what is responsible for the challenges so that we can begin to assess ourselves and ask questions on how we missed it as a nation,” Abari said.
Responding, the Managing Director of NAN said Nigerians must not only be united but also capitalise on the country’s diversity to mobilise for national development.
Presidency: Presidential aide urges youth to embrace agriculture
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Special Assistant to the President on Youth and Students Affairs, Mr. Nasir Adhama, has called on youths across the country to embrace agriculture instead of lamenting of unemployment. The presidential aide, who spoke in Abuja at the unveiling of Mr. and Miss Agriculture, an initiative to engender youth involvement in agriculture, enjoined them to deploy their creative energies in support of the economic diversification drive of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He noted that those who keyed into the agricultural initiatives of government would benefit immensely, as the sector was expected to create millions of jobs and wealth.
The Creative Director of Mr. and Miss Agriculture Project, Tamo Iruene, explained that the organisers intend to make agriculture stress-free and enjoyable by introducing entertainment into it.
Tamo posited that in the face of the current economic downturn, the only way to go was to stimulate the non-oil sector of the economy. He disclosed that over 30,000 youths were expected to participate in the project that will entail a reality show.
Said he: “What some people might not be able to understand is that after the auditioning and everything, you’re not just going to be in a house laughing or making noise.
No! They’re going to be farming; they’re going to learn techniques; they’re going to learn processing, packaging; they’re going to learn how to sell their products.
“Right now, we are in talks with different organisations because we are planning that the winners would package and sell abroad. We are trying to bring sustainable development back into Nigeria.”
Trade and Investment: FG to provide N500bn loans for youths, women
From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechcukwu Enelema, has said that the Federal Government has launched N500 billion from the 2016 budget to provide loans for artisans, women and the unemployed youths in the country. The minister, who made this disclosure yesterday as guest speaker during the International Conference to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Beta Sigma Fraternity, disclosed that President Buhari had approved the establishment of the Presidential Business Environment Council (PBEC), which would identify the obstacles to doing business in Nigeria.
Enelema explained that when he assumed office as the minister, he decided to delivers the enabling environment for business to thrive.
Also, he decided to be the champion of SMEs by encouraging them through agencies in his ministry, like the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the SMEDAN. The minister stated that to attract investors in the system, Nigerians must be more proactive for investors to come by crating the right environment. He called on Nigerians to be integrated into the value change, arguing that business people needed to cue into that market.
The minister disclosed that the Federal Government would be launching N500 billion, with which to provide soft loan for artisans, woman and youths among others.
“We may have made a slow start, which is regrettable, but we have established the Youth Entrepreneur Programme for the Youth Service Programme, while many banks were already willing to buy in and work with government,” he said.
Earlier in an opening address, the President, Beta Sigma Fraternity, Dr. Emmanuel Okwesilieze Nwodo, explained that they chose to use the 50th anniversary to address burning issues in the polity, stating that if youths are given guardians they would excel because they have not been prepared to be employable from school.
G to provide N500bn loans for youths, women