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 statement released at the weekend, the Broadband Coalition said 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 Coalition is urging that the five-year National Broadband Plan (2013-2018) should be diligently implemented to spur economic growth and help Nigeria prepare for a post-oil economy.
The group quoted 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. The group 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.
The Coalition 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. The group is raising 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.