The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has urged states and local governments across the country to complement Federal Government’s efforts in driving technology development.
The minister who gave the directive at a recent technology gathering, said the efforts being made by the federal government in driving technology development in the country would not yield optimum results without active participation of the states and local governments. She stressed the need to address the important issues of the role of the states in many of the initiatives put in place at the federal level.
According to her, common areas of interests that could be explored, include the implementation of the National Broadband plan, National Policy on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Digital and financial inclusion, local content framework, use of frequency spectrum and National Strategic E-government framework and collection of data on ICT sector.
“There is no doubt that the states and local governments are in a good position to contribute their quota in this respect. State governments have more complete knowledge of their localities and can work closely with service providers in their respective states to identify where and what kinds of services should be made available and where there are underserved and unserved areas,” she said.
She also added ” States are also in a better position to obtain the most accurate data possible for use of broadband and to continuously update and refresh the data provided by service providers to make it more and more accurate over time. States can implement independent verification programs to confirm service availability and actual experienced upload and download speeds.”
She however acknowledged that some state governments like Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo were already taking important steps in leveraging ICT for social and economic development in their states.
These states, she noted, had put in place projects and programmes that are driven by ICT, that impact on the lives of the people.
According to her, “To ensure the sustainability of these initiatives and ensure that they transcend administrations, we suggest that states that do not have ICT initiatives, establish dedicated institutional frameworks for coordinating ICT matters which could include the creation of ICT Ministries or ICT development agencies in the states.”