By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the Nigeria ICT roadmap 2017 to 2020 for implementation.
The approval was given at the FEC meeting that was presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the council’s meeting, held in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the roadmap is a framework for development of ICT in Nigeria, and aimed at creating 2.5million jobs in the next three years.
“It is also one of the pillars of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the aim among others, is to ensure the creation through ICT of 2.5 million jobs between now and year 2020.
“Again, another aim is to ensure broadband penetration to all parts of Nigeria particularly to ensure that by Year 2020, we have penetration level of about 30 per cent.
“Again, we believe that the content of this ICT roadmap will assist in harnessing the innate skills and opportunities available.
“We know that our youths are very intelligent, very, very dynamic and they will utilise the implementation of the ICT roadmap to ensure that more jobs are created and to really get Nigeria digitised.
“Again, we believe that this policy when properly implemented, will contribute to growing the Nigerian economy such that even with the government revenue, it could increase the GDP to about 20 per cent by Year 2010.’’
The minister revealed that as of this year, the contribution of ICT to Nigeria GDP was a little above 10 per cent.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that ICT would also assist in making businesses and service delivery easy because of e-government and e-commerce components of the ICT roadmap.
The Minister also disclosed that the proposed ICT University would be a specialised university, which will try to provide opportunities at the local level for intelligent and brilliant as well as innovative youths to learn more.
“As of today, with due respect to our universities, the general opportunities are not really there.
“If you consider the fact that ICT is growing at exponential rate; if you consider the fact that ICT is also a destructive technology, where if you have a syllabus today, by tomorrow that syllabus is changing; if you have another one tomorrow by the next day, it is changing, because there are many people involved in innovations all across.
“As at today, many of our graduates are ill-equipped for the ICT industry even in Nigeria not to talk of exporting their services to other African countries. What a lot of our people do after graduating from the universities is to go to India to equip themselves better to get all the skills that they will require for this new sector of technology.
“So, we feel that instead of our people having to go to India, having to go to South Korea and all of that, let’s create a specialised environment in Nigeria where people can train both Nigerians and people from overseas.
He maintained that in doing this, Nigeria would have enough manpower to take care of the ICT industry in the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole disclosed that the Council considered a memorandum from the Federal Ministry of Health to centrally co-ordinate, place and fund the placement of house officers in accredited institutions across the country.
Adewole said that with the approval of the programme, the sufferings of thousands of Nigerian young doctors would be put to an end.
“This new programme will be centrally co-ordinated by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria with effect from 2018,’’ he stated,