Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says the Federal Government should harmonise existing policies on telecoms, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and broadcasting to boost mobile adoption in Nigeria.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]For El-Rufai, “there must be greater clarity in the institutional, legal and regulatory framework to enable optimal use of our ICT endowments, and attract unprecedented investments in the sector in the directions mentioned above. The challenge before the Federal Executive and Legislative leadership so well represented here is to ensure this happens before you return to Kaduna next year for the Fifth meeting of the National Council on Communications Technology. I hope this happens.”[/quote]El-Rufai made the call at the opening of the Fourth Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Communication Technology (NCCT) held last week in Kaduna.
According to the Governor, “the existing national policies for telecommunications, ICT and broadcasting are overdue for harmonization to recognize digital convergence and increasing movement towards mobile platforms.”
For El-Rufai, “there must be greater clarity in the institutional, legal and regulatory framework to enable optimal use of our ICT endowments, and attract unprecedented investments in the sector in the directions mentioned above. The challenge before the Federal Executive and Legislative leadership so well represented here is to ensure this happens before you return to Kaduna next year for the Fifth meeting of the National Council on Communications Technology. I hope this happens.”
While stating that the world of technology is rapidly evolving, El-Rufai says that computing, telecommunications and broadcasting have converged, noting that “we live in the world of instant computing and communications that are mobile and robust. Young people with vision and capable of dreaming have unleashed innovation in remarkable ways.”
He told the forum that “it is your duty, ladies and gentlemen to come to terms with these and create the enabling environment for this growth and its benefits to our nation. You must therefore lead in the formulation of clearly articulated policies that allow all the disparate sectors and stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate to play their roles in developing the ICT sector.”
The Governor reckons that the recent visit of FaceBook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a recognition of the latent talent and opportunity that exist in our country, stating that “it is time for us to not just nurture but actively promote and export this abundant human resource.”
According to El-Rufai, the theme of this year’s National Council Meeting, ‘Information and Communications Technology as the Focal Point of Nigeria’s Economic Diversification’, is timely especially as the country is undergoing economic challenges.
“The choice of this topic is apt and well-timed. It comes at no better time than now that Nigeria is grappling with serious economic challenges arising, largely from our over-reliance on crude oil as the major source of revenue,” he said.
He believes that “with a proper sector policy framework that creates the enabling environment for the private sector to lead investment in the ICT, the country will benefit immensely from this robust sector.”
“In Kaduna State, we therefore see Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a sector that is capable of bringing huge revenues to this country and also generate job opportunities for our youths.
Nigeria’s population and economy are the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, making us the largest market for both ICT hard and software in the region. The potentials for ICT utilization and deployment is to a large extent just at its infancy,” the Governor said.
The Governor also said the private sector is not left out in exploring the potentials for ICT utilisation and deployment in the country for economic growth.
“While it is the responsibility of Government to create the enabling environment through clearly articulated policy framework, it is the provision of transparent regulatory framework, sector incentives and the active participation of both the public and private sectors that can make this country reap maximally from the benefits of ICT,” he said.
The Council meeting provides an opportunity for key actors in the industry to review policies and address issues affecting the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector at the National and sub-national levels, he added.
He is hopeful that “this year’s regular meeting will come up with a road-map that will assist the country and its teeming youthful talents to begin to reap from the many untapped opportunities inherent in the Nigerian ICT sector.”
“I am optimistic that this meeting will provide you the avenue to critically look at this sector and fashion out ways that will re-position Nigeria to tap into the great opportunities and potentials of ICT.”