In a bid to successfully secure a Digital Nigeria, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in collaboration with other parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy have implemented fifteen (15) new projects commissioned by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami during the Batch 11 and 12 virtual commissioning ceremony on August 13th and 19th, 2021 respectively.
The commissioned projects include the USPF’s Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), in Gombe State College of Education, Gombe State; School Knowledge Centre (SKC), Sanda Kyarimi Day Secondary School, Maiduguri, Borno State; E-Accessibility Centre, Alderstown Schools for the Deaf, Warri, Delta State; E-Accessibility Centre Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s School, Bauchi State. Others are two Emergency Communication Centres; one Virtual Examination Centre; one E-Health / Data Sharing Project and seven Digital Economy Center & E-Learning Facilities all executed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), respectively.
The implementation of these projects by the various parastatals demonstrates the Ministry’s continued confidence in a Digital Nigeria, while also pushing for e-education in the most critical areas.
Speaking during the Commissioning, Pantami credited and commended all stakeholders, particularly board members and other staff of the Ministry and all parastatals for the success of the project. He also highlighted how the Ministry formulated up to sixteen national policies in less than the two groundbreaking years with a minimum of at least one project benefited in each geopolitical zone and over 1667 commissioned projects. More so, the ICT sector is currently the fastest growing sector in the Nigerian economy, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta, who joined the occasion virtually expressed his heartfelt congratulations to the Honourable Minister on the very eventful two years in office, the Telecom Industry and ICT Sector. He also credited him for showing no hesitance to lead from the front. The DG, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa also applauded him for his second-to-none implementation of projects and policies in terms of economic diversity.
The events took place at the Communications & Digital Economy Complex, Mbora, Abuja with dignitaries in attendance namely, the newly appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu; former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu; Chairman Governing Board, NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande and the Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) NCC, Mr. Adeleke Morounfolu Adeolu, among others.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), stPhD, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM resumed office as Minister on the 21 of August, 2019 The Communications and Digital Economy sector has recorded a number of unprecedented achievements under his leadership. For example, the sector played a pivotal role in lifting the Nigerian economy out of recession, with the ICT sector recording the highest growth rate in the 4 Quarter of 2020 (14.70%), as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) th and stated by the President.
This growth rate was the only double-digit growth rate and it exceeded the aggregate growth rates of all the 2 to the 7 fastest growing sectors. The ICT sector also had the highest growth nd th rate in the year 2020 and the 1 Quarter of 2021. It is also noteworthy that the st telecommunications sub-sector grew at 15.90% and this was its highest growth rate over the past decade. Additionally, the Ministry and its parastatals have generated over N1 Trillion for the Federal Government in less than 2 years, this translates to an average of about N44 Billion every month or over N1.4 Billion every day! For example, about N360 Billion of this revenue was largely from Spectrum, allocated by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), under the Chairmanship of the Minister, to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for commercial purposes. Another over N600 Billion was paid as taxes by ICT Companies to the account of the Federal Government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Over the last 2 years, a significant number of National Policies have been developed to create an enabling environment for the sustainable growth of the Communications and Digital Economy Sector. This has led to the resolution of challenges that had lingered for close to a decade. Sixteen (16) of these National Policies have been developed and over a dozen of these are already being implemented. As part of the implementation of these policies, over 1,667 projects/centres have been established, and an additional 455 are ongoing.
Over 219,000 Nigerians have directly benefited from training on digital skills and this number does not include several others that have benefited from such trainings indirectly. Furthermore, there have been over 61 million unique NIN enrollments. Almost all the achievements here are unprecedented.
The 7th phase of the virtual commissioning of digital economy projects under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy was held on October 20, 2020 at the Communications &Digital Economy Complex, Mbora Abuja.
Five (5) more completed projects implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) were commissioned by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami in alignment with the Ministry’s National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030.
With the rise of the value of the digital economy on a global scale, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister stressed the necessity of diversifying the economy by focusing on being more digital than traditional.
In his remarks, Governor Fayemi appreciated the Minister for the various ICT projectsexecuted in his State and he reaffirmed that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) will support Dr. Pantami’sfuture initiativeson the transformationagenda of the Communication’s sector, describing them as mutually-beneficial relationships.
The Special Guest of Honour, the Honorable Minister of State for Health, DrOlorunnimbeMamora commended the Honorable Minister and the agencies under him for their zeal for good governance particularly providing operational and diverse digital solutions that allow other aspects of government to work remotely and efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The commissioned projects are the Emergency Communications Centre Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State; the Digital AwarenessProgramme for Methodist Girls High School Yaba, Lagos State; the Digital AwarenessProgramme for Bishop Okoye Girls Secondary School Ukpor, Anambra State all from the NCC; USPF’s School Knowledge Center (SKC) at Ijaloke Grammar School EmureEkiti, Ekiti State and lastly NITDA’s Flag-Off of National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in the last couple of weeks and in 4 different phases, has virtually commissioned various completed projects of the agencies under the Ministry.
The projects executed by agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy namely Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) are all connected to Nigeria’s digital economy drive as contained in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
This according to the Minister, are projects connected to some pillars of the NDEPS, especially with respect to developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, among others. The beneficiaries of these projects executed under President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, administration are the Nigerian citizens whose usage of ICT will boost the economic development in the country.
Shuaibu also appreciated the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry and their Directors; Board and Management Staff of the agencies under the Ministry, gentlemen of the press among others.
The USPF projects commissioned by the Minister are the Tertiary Institution Knowledge Center (TIKC) Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo; the Tertiary Institution Knowledge Center (TIKC) Delta State University Abaraka, Delta State and the School Knowledge Center (SKC) Government Day Secondary School Hassan Central, Gombe State.
Other commissioned projects include, the e-Library Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi, Kano State; e-Accessibility Center Government School for the Deaf, Malumfashi, Katsina State and the School Knowledge Center (SKC) A.U.D High School Ikole-Ekiti, Ekiti State.