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Nigeria licenses 6 slots to broaden broadband penetration

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, says the Federal Government has licensed six slots of the 2.6 MHz Spectrum for the deployment of 4G-LTE services in its efforts to broaden broadband penetration in Nigeria.

Mr. Shittu said this on Friday in Kaduna at the 4th National Council of Communication Technology.

He said broadband penetration in Nigeria has reached 20.95 per cent, while the percentage of internet penetration has reached a milestone 47.44 per cent, which makes Nigeria second in ranking in the African continent.

“There is the need to increase Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment of $38 billion,” the minister said.

Mr. Shittu disclosed that processes have commenced for the licensing of broadband services on the 5.4 GHz spectrum bank and allocation of 70/80 GHz band (E-Band).

On the theme of the meeting, which is ICT as a Focal Point For Economic Diversification, the minister said that the ICT sector can be re-engineered to expand the frontiers of its contribution towards facilitating Nigeria’s early exit from recessionary economies.

According to him, ICT innovation and entrepreneurship, and the broadening of investment opportunities, is one of the key avenues for increasing internally generated revenue in any economy. Nigeria not an exception, he said.

The minister noted that ICT has become a fulcrum of the nation’s economy.

He said that the challenge is how to harness and leverage the opportunities thrown up by the new economy powered by ICT to address the issues of revenue, investments and cost savings.

He stressed that this was not an impossible feat.

According to him, many developed countries around the world do not rely on the export of any raw materials, but on the development and export of ICT.

He cited Singapore, India and Thailand as examples of developing countries that have leveraged on ICT to make a difference in their economies.

Towards this, Mr. Shittu informed the Council that he had facilitated the draft of a Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, to chart a short term framework for the sector.

He said that the Ministry would ensure that the ICT in Government Initiatives is sustained.

“Through Galaxy Backbone, Government has provided internet access to about 400 MDAs, over 11,000 nodes of wireless LAN to all MDAs at the Federal Secretariat.

“More than 40,000 email addresses for Government officials under the gov.ng &mil.ng domains.

“This has ensured that government data is hosted locally on a secured website with data back-up to MDAs and 200 servers hosting 94MDAs,” he said.

In the area of spectrum management, Mr. Shittu said the Ministry of Communications has issued and renewed a total of 668 licenses from November 2015 to September 2016, generating about N500 million as government revenue.

He commended council members for attending the meeting which is the first under his leadership as minister of communications.

Mr. Shittu said that the National Council on Communications like any other governmental sector exists to facilitate inter-governmental consultations on ICT matters and to avoid unnecessary disparities in developmental structures.

“This NCCT platform enables me, as the minister coordinating ICT development in the country, to interact with the Commissioners in charge of ICT matters at the state level towards brainstorming on the optimal approach to ensure effective implementation of ICT policies across the country.

“For enhanced development of the sector in particular and the nation at large,” he said. (NAN)

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