Abuja (Min. of Communications and Digital Economy) – The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM on behalf of the Federal Government inaugurated the Nigerian National Broadband Plan Committee (2020-2025) Committee at the Transorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Inaugurating the Committee which comprises members from the private and public sectors, the Minister stated that the work of the committee will go a long way in supporting National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy of Nigeria which include critical role for Federal, States and Local government in the country.
He said digital economy is strategically dominating world economy and Nigeria cannot promote and develop it without Broadband in place and charged the committee to come up with strategy to penetrate underserved and unserved areas in the country.
Pantami said that the Broadband plan 2013-2018 has expired and urged the committee to look at the target that has not been achieved and challenges that are affecting Broadband penetration. He directed them to also look into many more challenges that have not been stated previously and see how we can join hands and resolved them collectively.
“It is because of this that we have come up with this very important strategic committee that would work on our National Broadband Plan for 2020-2025”.
He urged the members of the committee to maintain objectivity in their discussion/deliberation; to rightly identify our national priority and preference because we cannot do everything at the same time, He admonished that there is nothing personal in the assignment but to honour the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The Minister advised the committee to look at the recently released report and investigation by Huawei and Alliance 4 Affordable Internet (A4IA) 2013-2018 to extract useful information that would help the committee.
In his remark, the representative of the British High Commissioner- Head of Prosperity and Competition, Mr. Harrison Guy, stated that Broadband penetration has huge potentials to transform the way services are rendered in health and education and noted that e-government delivers benefits across all sector of the society.
He said the United Kingdom is an active partner of Nigeria, as such is very more kin to support the country’s goals of increasing the Broadband penetration rate between 65-66% within the next 5-6 years. Harrison added that UK government would provide technical expertise to support the drafting of the new plan.
The Chairperson of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, Chief Executive Officer, (MainOne), Ms. Funke Opeke in her remarks, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for approving the setting up of the committee to address the issue of National Broadband Plan. She also noted that the President recent participation in e-Nigeria and the launching of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy clearly signal his commitment to the digital economy.
According to her, “Broadband to the digital economy is like electricity to the industrial world. We are foot soldiers to help put together this new plan to ensure it happens. The stakeholder here is not us but those young Nigerians who have future ahead of them as they would be fully planted in the global digital economy”. She therefore urged the committee members to put Nigeria’s interest ahead