The Federal Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has again stressed the importance of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) for nation-building.
The Honourable Minister was speaking at the Broadband Technical Awareness Forum (BTAF) for Governors which held on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja where stakeholders witnessed first-hand, the power of 5G connectivity.
Powered by the low latency of 5G enabled by MTN Nigeria, Pantami delivered the keynote speech from a different section of the venue, and attendees were able to interact with him as he was beamed onto a platform as a three-dimensional projection in real-time.
Organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the BTAF is a forum that discusses the importance of internet broadband penetration by highlighting its various benefits across different sectors of the economy for increased revenue generation, employment opportunities, and the efficiency its impacts across various fields such as education, medicine, and agriculture.
According to data released by the NCC on September 26, 2022, there is a 44.68 per cent broadband penetration in Nigeria and up to 79.8 per cent of the population has access to the internet.
Pantami says these figures reflect a progression from data released in 2019. Despite this marked growth, he insists that there is a need to view broadband penetration as a necessity and no longer as a luxury.
According to the Minister, research carried out by the World Economic Forum and Oxford Economies revealed that a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration resulted in a minimum of 2.5 per cent increase in GDP sampled countries.
“There is no way we can attain economic development without broadband penetration, and there is no way we can acquire knowledge effectively and deliver content effectively to our students without broadband access,” Pantami asserted.
He continued: “Broadband penetration today is no more luxury, but rather it becomes necessary for security, for economic development, and education among many, many others. For example, when it comes to security, if you look at all the service systems that have been deployed by security institutions, today you cannot manage all this service effectively without broadband penetration.”
Also speaking at the forum, the Chairman, NCC, Prof Adeolu Akande noted that “it would be difficult to achieve faster and desired broadband penetration level without effective collaboration of state governors.”
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki in his remarks called for trust and open dialogue between the Federal Government and State Governments while assuring stakeholders of state governors’ commitment to broadband deployment in their respective states.
The BTAF played host to stakeholders in the communications and information sector, governors and their representatives.