- FG to Establish ICT Devt Bank, Says Minister
The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has said that plans are underway by the Federal Government to set up an ICT development bank that will provide funding for the industry, promote entrepreneurship and job creation.
The minister made this known on Monday while delivering a keynote address at a three-day youth empowerment programme, entitled ‘Ignition Week’, organised by a group, Young Innovators of Nigeria in Yenagoa, in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Government.
The minister, who was represented by a former director of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Mr. Peter Jack, averred that one key aspect of modern development in the Niger Delta, which had yet to be exploited by relevant agencies in the region was the training of youths in the ICT.
Shittu said that the ICT bank would among other services reduce the dependence on commercial banks for funding and offer lower interest rates and grow the ICT industry.
He said that in pursuant of the ministry’s mandate of leveraging the CT in its ramifications and in order to promote local manpower in the ICT sector, the ministry was establishing, as part of the 2017 budget, incubation hubs across the six geo-political zones in the country to boost empowerment and growth in the sector.
The minister said, “The ministry is also thinking of promoting the establishment of the ICT development bank just like the Bank of Agriculture and the Bank of the Industry in order to promote and assist the immediate funding of the ICT industry instead of depending on commercial banks, which have high interest rates.
“The present administration at the federal level has been conscious of the role of the ICT and has therefore been committed over the last three years to ensure that the ICT facilities and services are expended rapidly across the country.
“We are working round the clock to ensure that very soon the broadband penetration in the country would have risen above 20 per cent. Let me also state here that the achievement of 30 per cent growth in broadband by the end of 2018 is sacrosanct.”
He urged the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to make more efforts to empower youths of the region.
He described the theme of the programme ‘Empowerment Generation and Human Capital Development in ICT for Economic Restoration’ as apt.
The minister said the NCDMB, with its national headquarters in Yenagoa, had not done much in empowering the youth through the ICT.
Shittu said, “How many of you know the NCDMB? I know many of you have made efforts to talk to them. Please, renew that effort so that this programme would not be wasted.