“It is time for Nigeria to incentivize our latent ICT talent”

“It is time for Nigeria to incentivize our latent ICT talent to create jobs and prosperity for our youths” – Address by Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the opening of the Fourth Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Communication Technology (NCCT), held in Kaduna, on 28th October, 2016.

PROTOCOLS

It gives me great pleasure to welcome to Kaduna all the esteemed participants in the fourth Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Communications Technology (NCCT).

The Council meeting provides an opportunity for key actors in the industry to review policies and address issues affecting the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector at the National and subnational levels. It is my expectation that this year’s regular meeting will come up with a roadmap that will assist the country and its teeming youthful talents to begin to reap from the many untapped opportunities inherent in the Nigerian ICT sector. I am optimistic that this meeting will provide you the avenue to critically look at this sector and fashion out ways that will reposition Nigeria to tap into the great opportunities and potentials of ICT.

The theme of this year’s National Council Meeting is “Information and Communications Technology as the Focal Point of Nigeria’s Economic Diversification”. The choice of this topic is apt and well-timed. It comes at no better time than now that Nigeria is grappling with serious economic challenges arising, largely from our over-reliance on crude oil as the major source of revenue. And as the APC Administration led by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, strives assiduously to revamp and diversify the economy, ICT’s day may have arrived. The recent visit of FaceBook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a recognition of the latent talent and opportunity that exist in our country. It is time for us to not just nurture but actively promote and export this abundant human resource.

In Kaduna State, we therefore see Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a sector that is capable of bringing huge revenues to this country and also generate job opportunities for our youths.
Nigeria’s population and economy are the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, making us the largest market for both ICT hard and software in the region. The potentials for ICT utilization and deployment is to a large extent just at its infancy.

There is no doubt that with a proper sector policy framework that creates the enabling environment for the private sector to lead investment in the ICT, the country will benefit immensely from this robust sector.

Your Excellency, Honorable Minister Sir, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen

The world of technology is rapidly evolving. Computing, telecommunications and broadcasting have converged. We live in the world of instant computing and communications that are mobile and robust. Young people with vision, and capable of dreaming have unleashed innovation in remarkable ways.

It is your duty, ladies and gentlemen to come to terms with these and create the enabling environment for this growth and its benefits to our nation. You must therefore lead in the formulation of clearly articulated policies that allow all the disparate sectors and stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate to play their roles in developing the ICT sector.

While it is the responsibility of Government to create the enabling environment through clearly articulated policy framework, it is the provision of transparent regulatory framework, sector incentives and the active participation of both the public and private sectors that can make this country reap maximally from the benefits of ICT.

Your Excellency, Honourable Minister, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, Honourable Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen

The existing national policies for telecommunications, ICT and broadcasting are overdue for harmonization to recognize digital convergence and increasing movement towards mobile platforms. There must be greater clarity in the institutional, legal and regulatory framework to enable optimal use of our ICT endowments, and attract unprecedented investments in the sector in the directions mentioned above. The challenge before the Federal Executive and Legislative leadership so well represented here is to ensure this happens before you return to Kaduna next year for the Fifth meeting of the National Council on Communications Technology. I hope this happens.

With these few remarks, and the invitation for you to return again and again to Kaduna, it is my unique honor, pleasure and duty to declare this National Council on Communications Technology open. I wish you successful deliberations. I wish you safe journeys back to your various destinations. In the meantime, I urge you to take time out, see and enjoy Kaduna and spend a little money to help our economy out of recession.

God Bless Kaduna State.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Thank you all and God Bless.

Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, OFR
Governor of Kaduna State
October 28, 2016

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