What Saraki Thinks About ICT And Job Creation
Amidst recession that Nigeria’s economy slipped into in the second quarter of 2016, unemployment rate is still high and increasing, with more companies sacking their workers.
Most sectors of the oil-rich nation’s economy that have the potential of transforming the economy have remained either partially tapped or totally untapped and one of such sectors is the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, however, believes that the economic recession and youth unemployment could be addressed if the ICT sector was maximally explored.
Dr. Saraki’s spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in a statement said the Senate President told some visiting foreign dignitaries that developing an open and competitive ICT marketplace in Nigeria has the potential of contributing billions of dollars to the nation’s GDP.
“Nigeria’s ICT sector accounted for only 11 per cent of our GDP in 2014.
“In an era where we are looking to diversify the foundation of our economy, in 2017, ICT can be a key source of potential revenue and livelihoods for millions of our enterprising youth.
“But the only way this will be possible is if we augment the regulatory and political attention that we devote to the sector,” the Senate President said.
He pointed out that Nigerians are keen to adopt new information and communications technology in their workplaces and homes, to make life easier, better and more productive.
“Nigeria’s ICT space is fast-evolving and is the largest in Africa. With 86 million Nigerians online, the increasing proliferation of tech clusters and the growth of cross-border ICT services, we need to change the way that we think about ICT in Nigeria. We can’t stop thinking locally, but we need to start acting globally.
“We need to figure out how to push more Nigerian tech companies -- many of whom are run by young men and women -- to be competitive in the global marketplace.
“We also need to increase access to cheaper ICT solutions to our MSMEs that contribute 47 percent to our nation’s GDP. Most importantly, we need to develop our human resources by strengthening our school curriculum to reinforce Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning and adoption.
“There are many issues to be solved, but will sufficient cooperation, all stakeholders, public and private, can work together to harness the potential of ICT in Nigeria,” he stressed.
The Senate President also emphasised the need to build on Nigeria’s current ICT foundation, in order to utilize ICT and ICT services in order to positively make impact on the daily lives of everyday Nigerian.
In June this year, the Senate President's Office is scheduled to host a CEO Roundtable featuring Nigeria's leading ICT executives, where the discussion will focus on issues that are particular to Nigeria’s ICT development.
Achieving a tangible result through these efforts is something Nigerians are looking forward to but for ICT to thrive there must be a commensurate increase in power generation and distribution.
The poor power situation in Nigeria is one thing that Nigerians are looking forward to seeing its end, since it has been identified as a setback to the nation’s development.