Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has predicted that the Nigerian economy would be 21 per cent digital come 2021, because digitalisation is becoming the most adopted economy globally.
The minister, while speaking at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria’s (CIBN) 2020 Graduates’ Induction and Prize Award’s Day, said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of the digitalization in the growth of any nation’s economy.
Pantami noted that there has never been a more urgent time to fast track digital transformation in Nigeria, saying that the digital economy drive is aimed at rapidly enhancing digital identification, broadband penetration, how bank accounts are run, etc.
While stressing the need for professionals to develop more innovative digital tools and competencies, the Minister said activities in the banking, customs, and ports sectors, including revenue collections are being digitalized.
He further noted that broadband penetration at the end of July rose to over 43 per cent, an almost 10 per cent increase in less than a year. He said compared to the usual two per cent penetration witnessed in the years before, this is a remarkable step in the digital direction.
Pantami went on to disclose that the Ministry was working to ensure that indigenous digital solution providers and entrepreneurs get preference, saying that the current administration is committed to consuming what it produces. “The latest Quarter Two (Q2) 2020 report recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), showed that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector contributed about 17.83 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), from 13.85 per cent in the same period of 2019. “Yet, the digital economy was not included in the disclosed figure. If the digital economy was added, it would have risen well above 45 per cent to GDP,” Pantami added.