Stakeholders harp on need to harmonise ICT sub-sector

By Chinenye Anuforo, [email protected]

The various sub-sectors of the entire value chain of Nigeria’s ICT industry, including the telecoms, software, hardware, infrastructure, Value Added Services (VAS), fin-tech, innovation and technology startups, among others are witnessing various degrees of growth with the rapid evolution digital technologies.

Each of these sub-sectors of the ICT industry is very critical to the sustainability of the growth and contribution of ICT industry to the national economy.

As a nation, developing the ICT industry remains a crucial agenda in  quest for socio-economic development in general and in the process of regional and global economic integration in particular.

In addition, the ICT industry constitutes a strategic priority for countries in the sub-region in the fight against poverty and in promoting education at all levels.

As a matter of fact, ICT contributes to  economic growth by increasing productivity in all sectors; creating  a conducive environment for market expansion beyond national borders and benefiting from economies of scale; reducing costs and  facilitating easy access to services, particularly in the fields of administration, education, health and banking; facilitating access to research; developing ICT-related products and services; contributing to better governance, an essential ingredient for growth, through increased participation, accountability and transparency in the delivery of services.

Embracing ICT gives broader possibilities of positive externalisation and encourages creativity, learning, and augments people’s aptitudes to resolve problems.

However, its influence on the overall growth of an economy depends on a number of factors one of which is the extent to which all the sub-sectors interact, integrate and work with a sense of harmony as technology evolves.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman,  Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Garba Danbatta during the one day conference organised by Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA),

Themed, ‘Harmonising ICT Sub-Sectors Towards a Digitalised Nigeria’, in ensuring harmonisation of these sub-sectors, there is a need to always ensure that the legal and regulatory regimens, as well as the national ICT institutional frameworks have mutually inclusive handshake towards ensuring a digitized economy.

He recalled that the Nigerian government has always envisioned a policy environment in which regulatory frameworks for each of the sub-sectors is harmonized across all sectors to ensure a cohesive growth of the ICT industry.

“In 2012, a very important effort was made by the government to have a Harmonized National Information Communication Technology (ICT) Policy, with the objective of harmonizing the disparate policy frameworks guiding each of the ICT sub-sectors in the country and subsequently stimulate a harmonised national ICT policy that will create a digital economy.

To further give emphasis to this, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in 2020, unveiled the Federal Government’s National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030 with eight distinctive pillars. These pillars have encapsulated what needs to be done to drive each of the sub-sectors for better ICT industry development.”

Danbatta explained that digital economy has come to be recognised as a platform for conducting hitherto traditional economic activities using the internet and emerging technologies, based on which significant developments have happened globally, resulting to socioeconomic growth of societies.

“The digital economy influences everything from capital redistribution to benefit sharing and growth. It comprises goods and services that are either produced or deployed using digital technologies. For these reasons, the ICT industry underpins the performance of the digital economy and even better if all the disparate sub-sectors are cohesively harmonised for a more robust digitized of digital economy.”

For his own part, Lare Ayoola the Executive Chairman of Tranter IT and IoT Africa Networks Limited said the  important of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to Nigeria’s future cannot Over the years, ICT has contributed a lot to the economic gains of the country; creating so many opportunities, which involve the provision of infrastructure for data collection, analysis and reporting and the adoption of new age technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data.

Ayoola who is also the President, the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) also said ICT has helped organizations, businesses, and people, to communicate better, cut costs, improve productivity, reduce losses, enable better information security and cyber security, and improve research capabilities.

He said a harmonized ICT sub-sector and a digitized Nigeria is essential for better economic security, financial security, food security, oil and gas security and the security and safety of information, assets, people, dry stock and wet stock, etc.

A digitized Nigeria will facilitate the acquisition of data from all the players in all the industry verticals at the lowest possible costs with the best information security and unparalleled efficiency and reliability giving rise to Big Data and the huge economic benefits that come from Big Data. From Big Data we will get insights and derive vital information which is invaluable for decision-making and successful planning as well as for minimizing risk, maximizing opportunity and efficiency, and creating the opportunity to compete favorably in the global economy.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of NITRA , Chike Onwuegbuchi the theme of the conference was chosen based on the need to coordinate different sub-sectors’ efforts in the industry to achieve a digitalized economy.

“Sub-sectors of the industry are interdependent for instance; telecommunications services require software, fintechs depend on telecommunications to operate and so does Data centre, cybersecurity among others.”

In line with efforts of the federal government through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to digitalize the economy, there is need to harmonise policies and growth initiatives in different areas of the ICT sector to achieve desire growth and development”, the Chairman said.

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