Saturday, January 23, 2016

FG To Generate 2million Jobs From ICT- Minister

The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has said that the Federal Government will create two million jobs from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. He said investors from China would be investing 15 billion dollars in the sector. 

He spoke at the maiden Nigeria Communications retreat organized by the Federal Ministry of Communications, at International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan on Friday. 

He said: “Information and Communication Technology today creates more jobs than oil and gas and that can further be enjoyed, as investors from China would be investing N15 billion dollars in the ICT sector in Nigeria. So, potential two million jobs will be made available through investments in the sector,” he said.

The minister also disclosed that 550 post offices in different Local Government Areas in the country would soon start engaging in financial services like internet services, call services apart from the traditional letter posting.

“The time has now come to fully embrace ICT to enhance our lives, to enhance transparency and good governance if we are to really fulfill the “change” mantra that Nigerians voted President Muhammadu Buhari to bring about,” he said.

Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, in his address  urged stakeholders in the sector to evolve new ways that will take Nigeria out of the doldrums and re-launch its economy.

The governor observed that ICT was useful in virtually all aspects of human life, especially now that crude oil price was experiencing a free fall in the international market, thus impacting negatively on the nation’s economy.

Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics, Ajimobi said that ICT was a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with 8.68 per cent, adding that the country was the largest ICT user in Africa, with over 94 million internet users.

Besides, he noted that ICT had created over 12 million jobs in the country in the last two years, stressing that it could create even more if necessary frameworks were put in place.

The governor, who cited the examples of United States of America, China and some Asian countries which, he said, had used ICT to re-launch their economies, pointed out that the time had come for Nigeria to transit from an agrarian economy to a knowledge-based one, with ICT serving as the driver.

“I like to call on all stakeholders to come together to device a realistic blueprint for growth and improvement in employment rate.  America, China and many other Asian countries have used ICT to re-launch their countries and their economy,’’ he said.

He called on participants at the retreat to develop realistic strategies on how to use ICT, which he described as an imaginative and innovative sector, to create employment or to convert youths to employment generators.

“We are in the era of change. Ours is a government of change. Let us all come together to make ICT a change agent,’’ the governor said.

He added that this could be achieved by encouraging Nigerians through regular enlightenment on the benefits of information technology, as well as by fashioning out appropriate legal framework by the National Assembly to develop ICT.

Ajimobi also called for the repositioning of Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), rather than crippling it, by aligning it with global development in ICT.

In his presentation, the Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Kamanzi Stanislas, spoke on the evolution of ICT in his country since 2001, saying that his country had benefitted immensely from information technology.

He said that ICT had been applied in local transportation, automated passenger clearance system at airports, government command centre, robust electronic citizen registry, holding meetings without borders, running a paperless government, as well as offering all government services online.

He called for collaboration between Nigeria and Rwanda on ICT in order to improve on the bilateral relations and the economy of both countries.

In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Mr. Sonny Echono, said the essence of the retreat was to brainstorm on the development of the ICT sector which, he said, had generic effects on other sectors.

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