The Federal Government will create two million jobs through the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, according to Barrister Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications.
He gave the cheering news while speaking at the Nigeria Communications retreat organised by his ministry at the weekend in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
He said investors from China would be investing $15 billion in the sector.
“Information and Communication Technology today creates more jobs than oil and gas and that can further be enjoyed, as investors from China would be investing $15 billion in the ICT sector in Nigeria.
“So, potential two million jobs will be made available through investments in the sector,” Shittu said.
The minister also disclosed that 550 post offices in different Local Government Areas in the country would soon start engaging in financial services like internet services, call services apart from the traditional letter posting.
“The time has now come to fully embrace ICT to enhance our lives, to enhance transparency and good governance if we are to really fulfill the “change” mantra that Nigerians voted President Muhammadu Buhari to bring about,” he said.
In his address, Gov Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State urged stakeholders in the sector to evolve new ways that will take Nigeria out of the doldrums and re-launch its economy.
He observed that ICT was useful in virtually all aspects of human life, especially now that crude oil price was experiencing a free fall in the international market, thus impacting negatively on Nigeria’s economy.
Quoting data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Ajimobi said that ICT was a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with 8.68 per cent.
He added that the country was the largest ICT user in Africa, with over 94 million internet users.
Besides, he said that ICT had created more than 12 million jobs for Nigerian youths in the last two years.
Ajimobi stressed that the sector could create even more if necessary frameworks were put in place.
The governor cited the examples of United States of America, China and some Asian countries which had used ICT to re-launch their economies, pointing out that the time had come for Nigeria to transit from an agrarian economy to a knowledge-based one, with ICT serving as the driver.
“I like to call on all stakeholders to come together to device a realistic blueprint for growth and improvement in employment rate.
“ America, China and many other Asian countries have used ICT to re-launch their countries and their economy,’’ he said.
He urged the retreat participants to develop realistic strategies on how to use ICT, which he described as an imaginative and innovative sector, to create employment or to convert youths to employment generators.
“We are in the era of change. Ours is a government of change. Let us all come together to make ICT a change agent,’’ the governor said.
Mr. Kamanzi Stanislas, the Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, who made a presentation, spoke on the evolution of ICT in his country since 2001.
He said that his country had benefited immensely from information technology.
Stanislas said that ICT had been applied in local transportation, automated passenger clearance system at airports, government command centre, robust electronic citizen registry and holding meetings without borders among others.
He called for collaboration between Nigeria and Rwanda on ICT in order to improve on the bilateral relations and the economy of both countries.