Thursday, August 4Inside Business Africa
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Pantami has done well, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commended the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami.

President Buhari commended Pantami for the landmark achievements of the digital economy sector and his commitment in carrying out his responsibility of developing the sector.

The president gave Pantami the commendation at the launch of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector and the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.

Buhari in his address stated that the Digital Economy sector has made significant progress and recorded a number of unprecedented achievements under Pantami.

He said he was pleased with the way that the digital economy sector provided online options for activities that were hitherto restricted to offline channels.

The president’s address reads: “I am delighted to launch 2 very important National Policies today- the first is the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.

“And the second is the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.

“The first National SIM Policy was launched in February 2020. The Policies being launched today are in full alignment with the objectives of this administration in the areas of security, economic development and anti-corruption.

“The Digital Economy sector has made significant progress and recorded a number of unprecedented achievements since we expanded the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to include the digital economy mandate.

“The Information and Communications Technology sector was the fastest growing sector in both the fourth quarter of 2020 and the entire year 2020, based on the Report by the National Bureau of Statistics.

“The sector’s 14.70% double digit growth rate played a principal role in supporting our country to exit the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth rate of the sector exceeded 4 times the next fastest growing sector of Q4 2020, ICT Sector which had a growth rate of 3.42%. This is truly commendable.

“We are also pleased with the way that the digital economy sector provided online options for activities that were hitherto restricted to offline channels. In addition to minimising the disruption to activities of both the public and private sectors, it also reduced the cost of such meetings and improved their efficiency.

“The Federal Government embraced institutionalising online meetings through the approval of the National Policy on Virtual Engagements in Federal Public Institutions. As a result of this, we now have Virtual Federal Executive Council, Virtual Council of State and Virtual National Economic Council meetings, among others, even though this development was triggered by COVID-19.

“The National Policy for Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector is in line with this administration’s commitment towards ensuring that Nigerians become active participants in the different sectors of the economy, including the telecommunications sector.

“As a country, our desire to produce what we eat and consume what we produce is not limited to the literal meaning; rather we want to work towards being self-sufficient in every sector of the economy. For the telecom sector, we want Nigerians to play a major role in the design and manufacture of devices, in meeting the manpower requirements and in becoming an active part of the telecommunications ecosystem of the country.

“The Policy aims to achieve this and I have earlier directed the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to develop the structure for its implementation and forward this to the Nigerian Communications Commission to implement. We are confident that the execution of the Policy will further enhance our economy and lead to the creation of jobs.

“The launch of the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration is quite timely and will support our efforts to enhance security and develop our economy. The National Identification Number is the foundational digital ID for the country; both Nigerian citizens and legal residents are expected to obtain the NIN. It will provide access to government services and will give government useful insights that will enable us to utilise scarce resources a more efficient way.

“There have been many futile attempts to promote the use of digital identity in the past. Previous attempts have been unsuccessful due to a number of reasons, including sabotage. Our focused approach shows that this administration is dedicated to ensuring that we derive the benefits of a secure and robust digital identity system.

“We are fully committed to the safety of Nigerians and linking the SIM to NIN will significantly enhance security, aid in National Planning, Budget preparations, etc.

“It is in line with this commitment that we have initiated a process that will require every SIM to be linked to the National Identification Number, which is the primary identity database for the country. My earlier directive to suspend SIM sales was meant to sanitize the system and make it more secure.

“I have also earlier directed the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to implement the Policy in order to ensure that no SIM card is allowed to access our telecommunications network unless it has a NIN attached to it. Our goal is to make sure technology provides a platform for improving service delivery in the country and does not become a tool for perpetrating crimes.

“I commend the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), for the landmark achievements of the digital economy sector and his commitment in carrying out his responsibility of developing the sector, including championing the growth of the indigenous telecom sector and NIN-SIM registration process. I also commend the industry stakeholders for their support for the sector.

“I hereby direct the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to coordinate the multi-stakeholder implementation of both policies and I also urge all stakeholders to ensure compliance.

“I thank you for your kind attention and look forward to the commitment of all stakeholders towards ensuring the full implementation of both policies”.

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