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Broadband group expresses worry on broadband policy target of 2018… urges speedy implementation

By Nnadozie Okere
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Worried about the slow rollout of broadband infrastructure across Nigeria, advocacy group, Broadband 2018 Coalition has called on the Federal Government to expedite the implementation of the country’s five year broadband plan that was developed and submitted by the presidential committee on broadband in 2013.

In a media chat on Monday in LAGOS, Technology expert and convener of the coalition, Engr. Danjuma Yusuf, affirmed that broadband has played an outsized role in transforming societies and economic opportunities across the world, facilitating education and knowledge dissemination, enabling trade and commerce and contributing to growing entrepreneurship across the world.

The expert and Technology advocate urged that the five-year National Broadband Plan (2013-2018) should be speedily and diligently implemented to spur economic growth and help Nigeria prepare for a post-oil economy without further delay.

He reiterated the position of the Minister, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Mr. Bolaji Akinremi, who had said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is key to Nigeria’s quest towards attaining a sustainable development by 2030 when he delivered Nigeria’s statement on ‘ICT for Development’ at the UN General Assembly.

He also noted that Nigeria has declined on the broadband adoption and internet use index: Affordability Drivers Index (ADI), ranking 13th place (out of 58 countries surveyed) from 12th place ranking Nigeria earned in the 2015-16 Index in the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4aI) 2017 report.

Danjuma expressed concern at this decline, reiterating the fact that every 10 per cent increase in broadband growth in developing countries, results in a commensurate increase of 1.3 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and stressed the criticality now that Nigeria is trying to come out of a recession. He raised concerns about the implementation status of the National Broadband Plan and wondering why the government has provided no updates on their plans.

The National Broadband plan was developed by a Presidential Committee chaired by the National Coordinator, A4AI Nigeria and former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and Zenith Bank Chairman, Jim Ovia, supported by major Information Technology (IT) industry players from within and outside Nigeria.