Nigerian cabinet approves ICT roadmap

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council has approved the Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Roadmap 2017-2020 for implementation by the government.

The approval was given at Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council Meeting, presided over by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, stated this while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, which took place in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“This roadmap essentially is a framework for the development of ICT in Nigeria generally,” Adebayo stated, adding that it is also one of the pillars of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

Adebayo said the aim of the ICT roadmap is to create about 2.5million jobs between 2017 and 2020.

“Another aim is to ensure broadband penetration to all parts of Nigeria, particularly to ensure that by 2020 we have a penetration level of about 30%,” he said.

The Communication Minister also said that the content of the ICT Roadmap would harness the innate skills of the Nigerian youth to get Nigeria attain high level of digitization.

He said “Again, we believe that this policy, when properly implemented, will contribute to growing the Nigerian economy such that the GDP could increase to about 20% by 2020.”

Adebayo said the contribution of ICT to the GDP this year is a little above 10%.

He said the e-government component of the ICT Roadmap would assist in making businesses and service delivery easier when implemented.

ICT University

Adebayo said there would also be an ICT University, “which would be a specialized university to try to provide opportunities at the local level for intelligent, brilliant and innovative youths to learn more.”

He said the training opportunities for ICT are not readily available to students in universities in Nigeria at present because of constant innovations.

Adebayo said “ICT is growing at an exponential level” and also “a disruptive technology” where syllabuses change almost on daily basis, requiring that Nigerian youths get the trainings to follow the changes in the industry.

He said the ICT University, when established, would provide training similar to the ones Nigerian youths go to India and South Korea to get.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who was also at the briefing, said the Federal Executive Council considered a memorandum from his ministry to “centrally, co-ordinate, place and fund the placement of house officers in accredited institutions across the country.”

“By this singular act, the suffering of thousands of Nigerian young doctors would be put to an end,” Professor Adewole said.

He said the programme, which would take effect from 2018, would be centrally coordinated by the Medical and Health Council of Nigeria.