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FG generated $547 million from 5G auction: Buhari

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FG generated $547 million from 5G auction: Buhari

The president attributed the feat to the digital economy, which had driven growth, created employment and generated revenue for the country,

The president spoke 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 the president, the National Shared Services Centre will provide “swift, secure and seamless services”.

Mr Buhari noted that the Information, Communication and Technology Sector (ICT) had accelerated the 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.

“In particular, at the ministerial retreat that I chaired from October 18 to 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 dollars from auctioning the 5G spectrum alone,” he said.

Mr Buhari said he was pleased to unveil and commission several initiatives that further express the government’s commitment to developing a sustainable digital economy in Nigeria.

“You will recall that I unveiled and launched the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria on November 28, 2019, and I am very proud of the giant strides and the unprecedented progress that we have made 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.

Mr Buhari said the digital economy ensured continuity in governance during the restrictions that came into force due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We approved the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions on October 14, 2020, and this enabled us to formalise government online meetings.

“Our administration’s commitment to promoting data promotion and privacy is receiving praise across the world, and we have increased our digital identity enrolments from 39 million in October 2020 to about 92 million today.

“The massive increase of about 63 million in about two years is a global success story and has led to several requests for partnership from countries within and outside Africa,” the president told the gathering of ICT experts and government officials.

He said several policies and programmes to enhance the productivity of the digital economy sector had been developed.

According to him, the National Policy on NIN-SIM integration has enhanced the integrity of the National Identification Number database.

“Similarly, the Nigerian Postal Service has been repositioned through the unbundling of its services to increase its efficiency and make it more viable as a revenue-generating agency of government.

“I signed the Nigeria Start-up Bill into law on October 19 2022,” he said.

According to him, the Nigeria Start-up Act is a landmark legislation of this administration to transform the pool of highly talented youth in the country into a pool of highly innovative digital entrepreneurs.

Mr Buhari also noted partnerships with leading global ICT companies to train Nigerians in cutting-edge and high-demand digital skills.

In his remarks, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Isa Pantami appreciated the president for his support for the digital economy.

He noted that the economy had witnessed turnovers in broadband/Internet penetration, skills acquisition for global competitiveness and infrastructure development, like the fibre optic cable, which was about 15,000kms in 2015 and increased to more than 60,000kms.

Mr Pantami said there had been 2,255 interventions and programmes in the higher institutions of learning, secondary schools, and some private schools, and the quarterly revenue from ICT rose from N51 billion to N418 billion.

Source: Gazettengr.com

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