President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the Federal Government had achieved 100 per cent broadband penetration across Nigeria.
The president said this in Abuja at a Digital Economy Conference tagged ‘Promoting a Vibrant Digital Economy, A Catalyst for Economic Growth in Nigeria’.
The conference was organised by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Patami, the president said the figure was contrary to reports that the country had achieved 43 per cent penetration only.
According to him, reports on 43 per cent penetration is obsolete.
“One of the richest persons in the world announced that Nigeria out of the 54 African countries has outstanding broadband.
“As I speak to you today, the broadband penetration in Nigeria is 100 per cent,” Buhari said.
He said that the Federal Government performed excellently in terms of achieving wider broadband for Nigerians.
According to him, from 23 per cent coverage in 2019, this administration increased the broadband by 77 per cent in 2022 and 100 per cent in 2023.
“As at today, the broadband can be accessed everywhere in the country whether in the urban area, rural area or desert.
“We are the first African country to attain this and the only one so far,” the president said.
Buhari said the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy had been rated very high by an independent assessment.
He said, “70 per cent is distinction and the digital sector has surpassed it.
“We delivered excellently in all the eight priority areas in the sector.
“For instance on pillar number one, which is broadband penetration, we achieved 134 per cent, pillar number two, which is 4G penetration we achieved 127 per cent.
“Furthermore, we delivered 99 per cent on the third pillar, the fourth pillar, which has to do with national Identity we achieved 94 per cent.
“On the fifth pillar which is quarterly revenue generation, we moved from generating N51 billion in three months to N408 billion in three months.”
According to him, on the sixth pillar we achieved 103 per cent result, seventh pillar we achieved 111 per cent and the eight pillar we achieved 137 per cent.
On call by the President of NACCIMA for inclusion of the organised private sector in the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the president said the provision had been made.
He asked NACCIMA to forward the names of their representatives for consideration.
The National President of NACCIMA,Mr Ide Udeagbala said the conference was to among other things promote the technology ecosystem in Nigeria and establish potential of the digital economy for job creation.
He also said the conference was organised to identify the opportunities that existed in the technology industry and grow them by attracting local and foreign investments to Nigeria.
Udeagbala further said the conference would help identify challenges impeding development of the technology industry and encourage government to enunciate policies that would build on existing laws among others.
He said part of the discussions at the conference would also centre around establishing digital hubs in the six geo-political zones.
This, according to him will give opportunities to the rural areas, promote start-ups and encourage innovations in the industry while discovering technology savvy experts.
“The top five biggest technology companies in the world are managed and run by Indians.
“Microsoft Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Satya Nadella, an Indian; Google CEO is Sundar Pichai, an Indian; Twitter CEO is Parag Agrawal, an Indian.
“Also, IBM CEO is Arvind Krishna, an Indian, and then Adobe CEO is Shantanu Narayen, also an Indian.
“This is besides the fact that Indian technology sector works with over 75 per cent of the fortune of 500 companies, with most of them having their Headquarters in the U.S.
“The question begging for answers is what stops Nigerian youths who distinguish themselves academically in every institution of the world from attaining this,” he said.
Udeagbala said it was time to move away from the narrative where some Nigerian youths were using technology for fraudulent activities commonly called ‘yahoo-yahoo’.
He called for the inclusion of the organised private sector in the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo commended NACCIMA for organising the conference.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Trade in the Ministry, Mr Sulaiman Audu, said the Ministry would collaborate with NACCIMA to explore the potential of digital economy.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen said there was the need to improve women and people living with disabilities in the digital economy.
She said the Ministry would be willing to collaborate with actors in the digital world to mainstream women and other challenged persons in the society.
The event was attended by foreign nationals, captains of industry and other stakeholders.