Pantami inaugurates Committee on Broadband Implementation in Nigeria

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Ibrahim Pantami has inaugurated Steering Committee, expected to monitor the implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) which was unveiled and launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 19th of March, 2019.

The inauguration was made in Abuja on Thursday, he said the Committee has been carefully selected from a pool of tech savvy Nigerians and institutions and their selection is a reflection of the level of confidence that the ministry has in them to carry out this very important national assignment.

According to Pantami, “Broadband has often been referred to as a key enabler of economic growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to a Report by Ericsson titled “How Important Are Mobile Broadband Networks for Global Economic Development”, 10% increase in mobile broadband penetration results in approximately 0.6% to 2.8% rise in gross domestic product (GDP).

“Broadband supports the development of the digital economy and a focus on growing the National Digital Economy will also improve the nation’s traditional economy. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria was 14.07% in the 1st Quarter of 2020”, he said.

He added that the World Economic Forum predicts that over 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that over the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70% of new value. Most nations are prioritizing the need to develop their digital economies because they realize the multiplier effect that this can have on all other sectors of the economy.

“For instance, according to a 2018 Report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on “Defining and Measuring the Digital Economy”, the digital economy in the United States contributed 6.9% to the nation’s GDP in 2017. It also contributed 5.1million jobs in that year. The 2019 Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy also noted that almost two-thirds of all the jobs created in the United States since 2010 required medium or advanced levels of digital skills”, he said.

He noted that Broadband Plan 2020-2025 is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage).

“The Plan targets the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all State Capitals, and a point of presence in at least 90% of Local Government Headquarters. It also targets tertiary educational institutions, major hospitals in each state and 60% of base stations by 2025 at statutory rates of N145/meter for Right of Way (RoW)”, he said.

He gave the Terms of Reference to the Committee as follows: Develop Terms of Reference for the Project Management Office (PMO); Develop Terms of Reference for the Delivery Units (DU); Define staffing requirements for each of the Project Delivery Units; Monitor the activities of the PMO and DUs to ensure compliance with the Plan; Manage changes to the Plan; Provide periodic (Monthly, Quarterly, etc) updates and on-demand reports to the Honourable Minister; we should start with monthly updates.

“You are expected to adopt the Broadband Plan as your working manual; you should become very familiar with the 100-page document. I believe that a combination of the knowledge of its content and your subject matter expertise will enable you provide a catalyst for innovative solutions to the implementation of the Plan. I often state that no Policy or Plan can implement itself. As such, it is critical to ensure that an adequate level of monitoring and feedback is integrated into your activities”, he said.

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