By Bolaji Kazeem
As Nigeria joins the rest of the African Continent to mark the 2020 African Telecommunications Day amidst the novel Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to promoting the use of digital technologies to drive the economic development of the nation.
This is evident in some far-reaching policies of the Ministry, which includes amongst others, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Telecom Sector, National Digital Innovation, Entrepreneurship Policy, Policy on Virtual Engagement in the Public Service. A related project is the facilitation of Virtual Federal Executive Council Meetings. The Ministry’s policies are consistent with ATU’s statutory objective of promoting programmes for the development of the African Information Society and the Pillar on the promotion of Quality Broadband Infrastructure and Affordable ICT services under the current 2019-2022 ATU Strategic Plan
The theme of this year’s celebration, titled “Post COVID 19: Role of Telecoms/ICT in the Resumption of Socio-Economic Activities” was observed on Monday, 7th December 2020, has reinforced the effort of the Ministry to collaborate with relevant public and private stakeholders on the acquisition of requisite sectoral skills and competencies to leverage Telecommunications/ICT to solve a myriad of problems in our societies.
To limit the spread of COVID -19 in the country, the Federal Government, through Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Limited, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoC&DE) is applying and adopting measures to safeguard officials and personnel, by deploying Telepresence facilities for virtual meetings and conferences.
The COVID -19 pandemic has further shown how connected and inter-linked the world is and the need to check the coherence of policies and programmes across the Telecommunications/ICT sectors and to focus on promoting the accessibility of all people including the disadvantaged and vulnerable in society.
One of the initiatives of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in its efforts to bridge the gap of digital skills in Nigeria, is the recent Commissioning of an eGovernment Training Centre for capacity building. The e-Government Centre will go a long way in bridging the gap of different skills required to promote good governance through the training and retraining of Civil Servants in Nigeria.
COVID-19 has made the world a more challenging place than ever for many people. The Ministry through its various initiatives has remained focused on the implementation of laudable programmes and projects that will turn around the fortunes of the country, based on the eight (8) pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy and the Nigerian National Broadband Policy so that the Telecommunications and ICT Sector will be the primary driver of the Nigerian Economy and a major contributor to the increase of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
Nigeria congratulates and celebrates with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), as it celebrates the 2020 ATU Day.