The President spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the unveiling of the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, inauguration of the Communications and Digital Economy complex, launching of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training and launching of the Abuja Emergency Communication Centre and the National Emergency Toll-Free Number 112.
Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, expressed concern about the challenges faced by operators, particularly vandalism of telecommunications equipment.
He directed the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to work with government agencies to ensure protection of critical national infrastructure.
The President assured the operators of government’s commitment to ensuring that stakeholders have a conducive environment to ensure the implementation of the Broadband Plan, which seeks to boost broadband penetration as well as support the deployment of 4G across the country.
On the newly inaugurated Emergency Communications Centre and Toll Free Number 112, Buhari said it further demonstrates his administration’s resolve to keep Nigerians safe.
”We have taken advantage of digital technologies to ensure that Nigerians in distress are only a dial away from the relevant emergency response institutions.
”This will support our efforts to improve the security of lives and property,” he said.
On the Digital Nigeria Programme, President Buhari said it is one of Federal Government’s key initiatives to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in the emerging digital economy.
”It is part of our efforts to ensure that our youths, women, unemployed graduates and people living with disabilities either become employers of labour or get a large number of well-paying jobs, thereby contributing to the national drive of lifting Nigerians out of poverty,” he said.
The President said that the newly inaugurated Communications and Digital Economy Complex would provide a befitting coordinating centre for the new focus on the Nigerian Digital Economy.
”It signals the desire to intensify efforts towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an active participant in the Global Digital Economy,” he added.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said broadband penetration is key to reviving the economy.
Citing reports from the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, the minister said 10 per cent broadband penetration in any country will improve its GDP by at least 4.6 per cent.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, said that the country’s broadband penetration had increased to 38.5 per cent.
”As at the time this government came into power in 2015, broadband penetration was hovering between 4 and 6 per cent. It has now reached 38.5 per cent, ” he said.