Mr Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, has advocated more capital allocation to the communications ministry and its agencies for greater contribution to nation’s economic growth.
Shittu, who made the call in Ibadan on Sunday at the end of a two-day retreat, said that inadequate capital allocation hindered the ministry’s efforts at contributing effectively to national development.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day retreat held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan was organised by Federal Ministry of Communications.
“For instance, the entire budget of the communications ministry in 2017 was just a little over N6 billion.
“This allocation to the ministry is inadequate to really execute several initiatives that could turn around the ICT sector and country’s economic growth,”he said.
The minister said the role of government was not to engage in the business of ICT but to create conducive environment for the business to thrive optimally.
Shittu said there had been suspicions and misgivings among the agencies on what their roles should be.
The minister, who noted that ICT was a catalyst to development, adding that there was need for the country to move from resource-based economy to a robust ICT-driven one.
“Nigeria has operated and relied on resource-based economy in almost 60 years. The sole dependence on oil has never helped the country grow as expected.
“We have seen several countries across the world without oil and have surpassed Nigeria in all indices of developments,” he said.
NAN reports that participants in separate interviews scored the retreat high, saying it created the most invaluable opportunity to review the mandate of the ministry and its agencies.
Dr Agu Collins Agu, the Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy, and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), commended the review of 2012 National ICT Policy during the retreat.
According to him, the review is to make the policy to meet with dynamism in ICT landscape and changes in technology.
Agu said another take home from the retreat was the need for a higher synergy among the agencies to cut down cost, improve efficiency and automate processes.
Mr AbdulKarim Baba, the Director, Strategy and Business Development, Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), said that the retreat would help NIPOST to achieve government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for the agency.
Baba said that NIPOST was present across the country, adding that ERGP was also about inclusive growth to the rural and underserved areas.
“The new products of NIPOST, namely financial inclusion, addressing and digital inclusion programmes, with our widespread infrastructure will be used to assist government to achieve its ERGP,” he said.
Mr Bimbo Abioye, the Group Managing Director, Fintrak Software, applauded the plan of Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd. (NIGCOMSAT) to extend its services to the private sector.
“The private sector is looking forward to more impactful provision of services in infrastructure that will enable growth in the economy.
“This is something that the private sector can on leverage to provide services,” he said.
Abioye said that ministry of communications had done a lot in providing conducive environment for business to thrive through its agencies.
He commended the ministry for its various initiatives aimed at protecting local content and providing conducive environment.
The two-day event was attended by representatives of the ministry of communications, Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), NITDA, NIPOST, NIGCOMSAT, Galaxy Backbone and the private sector.