Dele Ogbbodo in Abuja
¨The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, monday revealed that Nigeria currently uses 29 per cent share of Africa’s total internet access, with a growth rate of 11 per cent in 2013 to 52 per cent in 2014.Before the creation of the ministry in 2011, she admitted that the country was down in United Nations (UN) e-government development ranking, adding that today, the country has moved up in the ranking.
This upward movement according to her, is a welcome development, because ICT is now being deployed in both the public and private sectors for effective service delivery.“One of the most important tools of ICT that have impacted the lives of Nigerians is access to broadband internet, especially mobile broadband,” the minister stated.Johnson, who was represented by the Director, e-government, Mr. Tope Folashedemi, made the disclosure at the celebration of the 150 anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Abuja.
According to her, the country had a combined fixed and mobile telephone subscription of over 400,000 lines since independence in 1960, but in just 14 years after the licensing of the mobile operators, it recorded over 148 million connected lines with a teledensity of about 97 per cent.
The minister explained that government was planning to get all its cities connected to the internet through its broadband initiative, adding that already, many state governments are keying into its national broadband plan which is to make broadband ubiquitous across the country in no distant future.Johnnson said: “To further deepen the use and penetration of broadband to communities across the country, the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), approved the allocation of portions of the radio frequency spectrum to the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to eligible operators.”
This according to her will enable operators deploy broadband services across the country, adding that there is ongoing collaboration between government and the private sector for the expansion of fibre optic infrastructure across the country.She said the ministry had implemented the Government Service Portal (GSP) and the Government Contact Centre (GCC) to enable citizens and other stakeholders have access to government services that are provided by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through a single window technology.
“In the past four years, the country has witnessed changes or innovations in the way we conduct or transact business in many sectors of our economy. For example, with the deployment of the electronic (e-wallet) system, Nigerian farmers are now able to make payments for subsidized farm inputs through their mobile phones,” she stated.