Home Top Stories FG earmarks N16.7bn for broadband infrastructure to 18 varsities – Pantami

FG earmarks N16.7bn for broadband infrastructure to 18 varsities – Pantami


..Gives reason for providing broadband connectivity to 20 markets

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami has said that the Federal Government has earmarked the sum of N16, 703, 863,327 to provide broadband infrastructure unlimited to 18 selected higher institutions of learning – (3 universities each from the 6 geo-political zones) as phase one of the broadband penetration initiative.

In this phase, each university will benefit broadband infrastructure unlimited of approximately N400m and it will kick-start with the North Central geo-political zone.

Also, the Minister has given reasons why the federal government is providing broadband connectivity to 20 markets as pilot scheme. According to him, this is being provided to support the micro, small and medium enterprises which he said contributed half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product prior to COVID-19 outbreak and constitute 96.7% of entire businesses in the country. “So any effort to develop our economy without bringing such important sector into the equatuon will amount to efforts in futility”, he said.

Pantami stated this on Thursday at the launch of four projects namely; broadband infrastructure for our installations of learning, broadband infrastructure for micro, small and medium enterprises, distribution of 6,000 e-pad tablets and unveiling of his book titled, ” Skill Better than Certificate” held at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.

The Minister reminded that broadband peneration is key to the promotion of education and commercial activities. He said that it was in realisation of this that the World Bank reform of 2022 clearly stated that if we will be able to increase broadband penetration globally, to allow 75% , that will automatically catapult the global Gross Domestic Product by minimum 2trillion US dollars. He noted that it was the challenge of connectivity that led to the shutdown of school in underdeveloped countries during COVID-19 Pandemic where developed and developing countries that have attained broadband connectivity continued with their education despite the lock down.

Pantami also unveiled a book “Skills rather than just degrees”, authored by him, with a Foreword written by Brad Smith, President, Microsoft Corporation.

Smith noted that the book addresses critical opportunities for individuals, and points the way to steps that can unlock the potential of Africa and the world.

Sundiata Post recalls that the event attracted multi-stakeholders from the academia, technology enthusiasts, including prospective start-up companies, fintech organisations and other interested sectors whose activities are billed to energize the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, 2020-2030.

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