Communcations Minister drafting a bill to unbundle ICT infrastructure in Nigeria

by | May 20, 2016

After waiting on the budget for a long period, it was finally signed and revealed to the public. While the actual metric to ascertain which sector receives what may be lost on us, it is quite safe to assume that the budgetary allocations were based on the needs of each ministry and sector. However, for all the talk about technology being the new oil and gas, it only managed₦15.9 billion (₦9.9 billion recurrent expenditure and ₦6 billion capital expenditure) in the grand scheme of things (Six Trillion, Seventy-seven Billion, Six Hundred and Eighty Million Naira).

In an ongoing sectoral debate on diversification of the country’s economy at the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Abuja, the minister of communications and technology – Adebayo Shittu – disclosed that the Ministry of Communications is drafting a bill to unbundle Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure. A bill of sort would not only increase private sector participation in ICT infrastructure building but also a giant stride towards ensuring that the sector contributes more to national building. He also made remarks on how the sector have suffered from obsolete laws – which apparently have been the greatest challenge confronting the sector — and that the government needed to spend to unlock the potential in the sector.

From what has been said, it would be pointless arguing against those very facts. But it also pertinent to note that for a country meaning to leverage on technology to shore up its ailing economy and also stay abreast of its developed counterparts, ₦6 billion budgetary allocation earmarked for capital expenditure on ICT would appear all too small. And with that, we could question the government’s seriousness or understanding of the roles of ICT towards nation building. Be that as it may, any hasty conclusions would negate the government’s intention — some of which may have been well thought of. So we can only assume that the Minister is looking for intelligent ways to lessen the sector’s financial burden or achieve a plan for which it’s been bestowed with little financial warchest.

From an overview there are a lot of works to be done in the ICT sector to actually justify the private sector emergence, especially in this growing age of technology where everything is running too fast for the government to handle alone. Needless to say that the government needs to make do on its promises (like the vice president’s promise to create more technology clusters in the country). But beyond that we hope to see a situation where an investment in educational technology, a provision of a friendly environment for young innovations to thrive amongst others sits on top of government’s to-do list. ₦6 billion may be small to cater for ICT infrastructure in the country, but it also seem like a lot in the hands of the government to provide the basics. So unless these money aren’t ending up in different “Ghana must go bags” as have been the case, we expect that the small budgetary allocation would be a blessing in disguise of sort to innovate on technology. Beginning with the proposed bill.

Whichever is the case, the coming days would tell. So our fingers are crossed on this one.

Ifeanyi Ndiomewese
Ifeanyi Ndiomewese

Ifeanyi is a desk reporter-turned administrator. Outside of work, I love to read and travel.

On January 22, 2022, be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent News

Subscribe to Techpoint Digest!

A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Crypto Explorer

A monthly series featuring in-depth analysis on the cryptocurrency sector in Africa

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to The Experts

A bi-weekly where tech career specialists take us on their journey from newbie to expert, and how they became successful in the industry.

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Founder's Table

A monthly series, where we catch up with founders in the startup ecosystem, learn about their failures, successes and a few tricks of the trade

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap