The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami has revealed that he is pleased with the growth of ICT’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020).
According to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on ‘Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product Report’ for Q2 2020 today, “Nigeria’s GDP decreased by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity during the quarter, which resulted from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The non-oil sector contributed 91.07% to the nation’s GDP in Q2 2020 as opposed to the 8.93% contributed to total real GDP by the oil sector.
It is worthy of note that the ICT sector contributed 17.83% to the total real GDP in Q2 2020, 20.54% higher than its contribution a year earlier and in the preceding quarter, in which it accounted for 14.07%. This contribution is unprecedented.
The Minister notes that the growing contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP is a direct result of the focused and committed effort of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
The strategic policy directions of the Federal Government include the inclusion of Digital Economy in the mandate of the Ministry, the unveiling and implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy and the National Broadband Plan, amongst others.
As at July 2020, the broadband penetration in the country was 42.02%, translating to a percentage increase of almost double digits in less than 1 year. This is another remarkable achievement.
The Minister speaking through his Technical Assistant (Information Technology), Dr Femi Adeluyi, said that the unprecedented contribution of ICT to Nigeria’s GDP can also be attributed to dynamic and results-oriented leadership which has been acknowledged and appreciated by a wide spectrum of the stakeholders in the sector.
“The support of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has contributed immensely to the impressive developments in the sector. Mr President is excited about the growth of the sector and commended the Minister when he heard of these achievements.
“The GDP Report has shown how critical the ICT sector is to the growth of our country’s digital economy and, by extension, the general economy”, he said.
Pantami also called on all sectors to take advantage of the Federal Government’s new focus on the digital economy to enable and improve their processes through the use of ICTs.
Reacting to the recent statistics, Mr Olusola Teniola, Chairman of the Association of Telecommunications Companies in Nigeria(ATCON) said, “though positive growth contributory figures suggests a growing market in the ICT sector it has to be placed into context of a contracting economy and in absolute value demonstrates a falling nominal versus real GDP value in both Naira and Dollar terms.”
“Having placed it in the current reality of our macroeconomic situation it demonstrates the accelerated adoption of virtual online tools and collaborative technologies. Prior to COVID-19 we as an industry body had forecasted a positive Q1 & Q2.”
“However, the numbers coming out of Q2 suggests a tightening in consumer spending that may flat-line the ARPU rate going forward in Q3/Q4 in 2020,” he said.
Also reacting, Prof.Adesina Sodiya, President of Nigeria Computer Society stated that, “having a core IT professional as a Minster of Communications and Digital Economy has resulted in the progress we have made as nation in terms of GDP contributions.”
According to Sodiya, it is a clear indication that some of the policies of government are working.”
Sodiya added that the Nigeria Computer Society will continue to work with government towards leapfrogging IT development in Nigeria.