Right from the time the Federal Government (FG) unveiled its digital economy agenda, the performance and contribution of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased, says Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
Pantami, who is the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, told the Economic Confidential in an interview that in the second quarter of 2020, the contribution of ICT to GDP is 17 percent from 13 percent maximum, last year.
He also said that with the transfer of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to his Ministry, the concept of digital number would be prioritized to replace the national identity card.
The Minister disclosed that the broadband penetration has risen significantly from a little above 30% to more than 42 percent within a year, adding that “Any country where the broadband penetration increases by 10 percent, automatically that will increase the GDP of all other sectors by a minimum of 1.6 percent up to 6.8 percent. “So, digital economy indeed is the future, and it is all about prioritizing digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship.”
On the transfer of NIMC to his Ministry, Dr. Pantami said the digital number will henceforth be the national identity that will enable Nigerians to access relevant services offered by government agencies and private institutions.
The Minister said: “The new approach is the digital number, and not the card. The number, which will be in the country’s database will be linked to the person’s identity and will be attached to the person’s passport and Driver’s License among others. So that if a person wants to access any kind of service it will be through the digital number, which he or she will provide to the authorities concerned, and they will render the service requested by the person. So, there is no point promoting the digital economy and encourage people to be going out with cards. It should be optional.