The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture has called on the Federal Government to restructure the National Council for Digital Innovation to include at least three members of the Organised Private Sector.
This is just as the Chamber unveiled plans to establish digital hubs in the six geo-political zones of the country.
The National President of NACCIMA, Mr Ide John Udeagbala made this known in Abuja at the First National Digital Economy Conference, with the theme “Promoting A Vibrant Digital Economy ; A Catalyst For Economic Growth”
The conference was targeted to promote the technology ecosystem in the country, establish potentials of the digital economy for job creation and employment of our teeming unemployed youths in Nigeria, and identify the opportunities that exist in the tech industry in Nigeria and grow
it by attracting both local and foreign investments into the industry in Nigeria.
Others are to identify the challenges impeding the development of the technology industry in Nigeria, encourage government to enunciate policies that will build on existing laws and promote the growth of the technology ecosystem in Nigeria, and establish Digital Hubs in the six geo-political zones to give opportunities to the rural areas, promote start-ups and encourage innovations in the industry and discover tech savvy that abound in the country.
Udeagbala said the digital economy allows individuals to share information and communicate beyond borders.
He noted that technology was fundamental to the digital economy.
According to him, NACCIMA is determined towards changing negative information about Nigeria to a positive one and ensure that the digital hub is all inclusive.
He said, “Many of our youths are known for yahoo-yahoo businesses where they defraud individuals and corporate organizations both within and outside Nigeria.
“Our goal is to change these narratives of these smart and intelligent youths from these negative narratives to the positives of the Digital Ecosystem.
“It may interest you to know that the government of India promotes policies that enhance the development of technology.
“Interestingly, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on the 19” of October 2022 signed into law the Startup Act, 2022. The Act made provisions for the legal and institutional framework for the development and operation of the startup in Nigeria and this is very commendable.
“We are however concerned that the OPSN are left out in the composition of the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“If efficient performance is to be achieved, there is a need to review the composition of the National Council to include the OPSN who are the main drivers of the Nigerian economy.
“Therefore, we urge the government to consider very strongly the need to urgently restructure the National Council to include at least three members of the OPSN to champion the accomplishment of this laudable goal.
“These are some of the reasons we have brought together both the government and many captains of industry in the organised private sectors (OPS) with international organizations and the diplomatic community to rub minds together and construct a defined roadmap for the development and growth of the Digital Economy in Nigeria.”
In his remarks, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami commended NACCIMA for organizing the conference
According to him, report on 43 per cent penetration is obsolete.
He said, “one of the most richest persons in the world announced that Nigeria out of the 54 African countries has outstanding broadband.
“As I speak to you today the the broadband penetration in Nigeria is 100 per cent.”
The president said the present administration had performed excellently in terms of achieving wider broadband for the people.
According to him, from 23 per cent coverage in 2019, his administration increased the broadband by 77 per cent and 100 per cent in 2023.
He said “As at today, the broadband can be accessed everywhere in the country whether in the urban area, rural area or desert.
“We are the first African country to attain this and the only one so far.”
Buhari further said, the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy had been rated very high by an independent assessment.
He said “70 per cent is distinction and the digital sector has surpassed it.
“We delivered excellently in all the eight priority areas in the sector.
“For instance on pillar number one, which is broadband penetration, we achieved 134 per cent, pillar number two, which is 4G penetration we achieved 127 per cent.
“Furthermore, we delivered 99 per cent on the third pillar, the fourth pillar, which has to do with national Identity we achieved 94 per cent.
“On the fifth pillar which is quarterly revenue generation, we we moved from generating N51bn in three months to N408bn in three months.”
The President further said, “on the sixth pillar we achieved 103 per cent result, 7th pillar we achieved 111 per cent and the eight pillars we achieved 137 per cent.”
On call by the President of NACCIMA for inclusion of the organised private sector in the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the president said the provision had been made.
He asked NACCIMA to forward the names of their representatives for consideration.
On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo said the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with necessary stakeholders towards fast tracking national economic development.
Adebayo who was represented by the Director of Trade in the Ministry, Mr Sulaiman Audu called for effective public-private sector participation in the task of promoting digital economy in the country.
Other speakers at the conference stressed the need for improved electricity and basic infrastructure nationwide to boost the growth of the economy.