FG adopts new ICT strategic roadmap, seeks affordable internet
By Theresa Igata
ICTs have been given a central role in the national development plan, and in order to rationalize the work towards achieving Vision 20:2020, which outlines the Federal Government’s aim to make Nigeria a top 20 global economy by 2020, the Government of Nigeria has developed the new ICT strategic roadmap, which is before the Federal Executive Council for approval.
This was according to the Minister of Communications Barr. Adebayo Shittu who was speaking at the second meeting and 5th edition of the annual Internet Freedom Forum hosted by the Alliance for Affordable Internet, A4AI, multi-stakeholder coalition.
According to Shittu, “as you may be aware, the country’s ICT development blue print and National Broadband plan would be implemented holistically for the next 2 to 3 years and I am aware that the Internet Freedom Forum (IFF) is an annual forum designed to bring together participants in Nigeria, Africa and beyond with the aim to hold discussions, enrich and broaden the conversation on issues around Internet freedom and digital rights in Africa. I am also aware this A4AI Coalition has been working round the clock to chart a way forward towards deepening broadband Internet access and affordability in the country. I consider this meeting as impetus to the realization of this noble cause in our country’s history”.
“Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) Report shows that high cost of broadband may hinder the Achievement of UN Global of Universal Internet Access by 2020”. But in order to accelerate this progress, the minister added that the Ministry is working round the clock to set a more ambitious target for getting broadband prices down.
“The report serves as a wake-up call to us in the Ministry. A lot of work needs to be done; immediate collaborative action is required let’s work together to build open and competitive markets that can drive affordability, applicability, availability and accessibility (4As)”.
The Federal Government of Nigeria he said, recognizes the urgent need to increase access to, and usage of Internet and broadband in Nigeria which is why the ministry of communications “notes the enthusiasm demonstrated by A4AI to increase the affordability of both mobile and fixed-line Internet access in line with the sustainable development goals as well as provide a unified voice and coordinated focus on addressing the shared goal of open, affordable access to the Internet in Nigeria and indeed in the developing world”.
Shittu however revealed that a stakeholder consultation on the establishment of an Internet industry code of practice has been approved and the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, “will soon invite all affected and interested stakeholders for consultation as part of our internet Governance functions. Given the importance of this Meeting and the Forum to the activities of the Ministry and in pursuance of Mr. President’s stance on using ICTs as bedrock to the Change Agenda and Development I want to charge you that Local Content is very important for use of the internet and that importance of digital literacy cannot be over emphasized in the 21st century”.
He therefore implored the forum to ensure that millions of Nigerian users come online and to work toward achieving the global goal (SDG 9c) of Universal and Affordable access by 2020. As I conclude, I take this opportunity to applaud A4AI’s efforts and contributions in the development and growth of the country through this noble initiative.
“The Ministry of Communications, under my watch will continue to partner with government at all levels, and other stakeholders, in its bid to move the telecoms industry forward. I would like once again to congratulate the National Coordinator and his team for organizing this timely and commendable meeting. You must always remember that we must put the interest of our nation first in all things that we do. Nigeria needs the best and only the best is good enough for Nigeria”, he said.