President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the auctioning of the 5G spectrum, which generated $547 million.
The president attributed the feat to the digital economy, which had driven growth, created employment and generated revenue for the country.
The president said this at the National Shared Services Centre, a one-stop-shop for Ministries, Departments and Agencies to (MDAs) interface with citizens, which also houses a Cyber Security Operations Centre, Network Centre and Call Centre in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Buhari, the National Shared Services Centre will provide services that are “swift, secure and seamless’’.
Buhari noted that the Information, Communication and Technology Sector (ICT) had accelerated diversification of the economy.
He said the Q2 Gross Domestic Product Report by the National Bureau of Statistics showed the extent of growth, with the ICT contributing an unprecedented 18.44 per cent to the GDP, close to three times the 6.33 per cent contribution of the oil sector in the same quarter.
“As part of our efforts to expand our digital infrastructure; we increased our 4G base stations from 13,823 to 36,751 from August 2019 to date, and this has increased the percentage of 4G coverage across the country from 23 per cent to 77.52 per cent also from August 2019 to date.
”We have also followed this up with roll-out of 5G services.
“It is noteworthy that the digital economy sector has excelled in generating revenue for the government.
”In particular, at the Ministerial Retreat that I chaired from the Oct. 18 to Oct. 19, 2022, our independent analysts adjudged the digital economy sector to have generated 594 per cent of its revenue target from the 2019 baseline.
”This is very commendable. As part of these unprecedented achievements, the sector generated over $547 million from the auctioning of the 5G spectrum alone,’’ he said.
Buhari said he was pleased to unveil and commission a number of initiatives that further express the government’s commitment to develop a sustainable digital economy in Nigeria.
“These initiatives are part of our administration’s efforts to position the digital economy as a key enabler for the diversification of our economy and as a catalyst for the transformation of every sector of our economy.
“You will recall that I unveiled and launched the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria on the 28th of November, 2019 and I am very proud of the giant strides and the unprecedented progress that we have made in in less than one year since the unveiling.
“To ensure that the digital economy sector remains successful and in order to reduce the burden on citizens, I recently approved the suspension of the proposed excise duty in the telecoms sector, as any initiative that will lead to hardship for the citizens would not be pursued,’’ the president said.
Buhari said the digital economy ensured continuity in governance during the restrictions that came into force as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We approved the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions on the Oct. 14, 2020 and this enabled us to formalise government online meetings. As such statutory meetings like the Federal Executive Council meetings, Council of State meetings and other meetings can now take place online, effectively and legally.”