ICT as catalyst for robust market economy

Information Communi­caindextion Technology has contributed positively to socio-economic develop­ment of Nigeria. Extension of ICT services to rural areas has generated economic and so­cial benefits which include social change, connectivity, decentralization and acces­sibility.
The growth of industries and enhancement of social activities is dependent not only on adequate skilled la­bour but also effective im­plementation of ICT pro­grammes.
The ability of developing countries to thrive in global economy depends on the na­tion’s objectives of ICT poli­cies and their ability to prop­erly implement such policies. A good number of work­shops, conferences and sem­inars have been sponsored by the Nigerian government and the country has made tremendous progress in the convergence of telecommu­nications with computer tech­nology by linking production to industrialization but there is still more to do.
Nigeria needs to step up its game and adopt a strate­gy which targets industrial­ization through applications of microelectronics, comput­er products, services in man­agement, finance, health care, distribution, manufacturing, as well as education. The suc­cess will have an impact on the nation’s production pat­terns, trades, aneducad the social and political environment.
Giving ICT its rightful place will affect the heartland of the business life of the peo­ple positively. The advent of the new information technol­ogies has opened many doors for socio-economic and po­litical development in many countries and Nigeria must tag along. It must be noted that ICT does not develop in isolation rather it develops in accordance with the industri­al environment it encounters. If not, the impact of ICT will be inconsequential to the na­tion’s economy.
Industrialization and tech­nological development in this information age through a well-defined ICT will go a long way in aiding a nation’s economic growth. It is im­portant to note that regula­tion and privatization poli­cies will yield no fruit in the development of the nation’s economy if the implementa­tion of ICT policies is not giv­en a major priority.
The awareness for self-re­liance and self-sufficiency is gaining momentum in de­veloping countries therefore, the promotion of ICT as an essential catalyst for social and economic development should be on the high gear.
The economic benefit of telecommunications is enor­mous, both as a growing in­dustry in its own right, and in terms of its influence on eco­nomic development. Tele­communications is mak­ing the world a smaller place and creating new informa­tion highways of high speed electronic data exchange. The economic implication of ICT are far-reaching; mobile tele­phones, satellite television and automatic teller machines are just a few examples of the way in which ICT is chang­ing how people communi­cate, become informed or do business.
ICT investments affect economic activity. Telecom­munications brings about im­portant technological change, openness, connectivity, de­centralization and accessibil­ity. It brings people togeth­er, links like-minded groups, and saves cost of transports as business transactions can be made over the phone without necessarily crossing the bor­der. It promotes self-employ­ment such as phone booths and business centres.
ICT network is the basic facility through which busi­ness needs can be satisfied. Commerce is essentially an information processing ac­tivity, effective buying, sell­ing and brokerage rely on the continual supply of up-to-date information regard­ing the availability of prices of goods and services. Even farmers need information on weather conditions, dis­ease outbreaks and new agri­cultural techniques.
ICT has changed the way transactions are conduct­ed, information is circulated and the way we educate and inform ourselves. It has also reduced inequalities of op­portunity between rural areas and the urban centres with the introduction of Internet Services, which delivers ed­ucational programmes to re­mote locations. Education­al institutions are becoming more dependent on telecom­munications to access super computers and broadcast in­structcloud_computingions.
ICT policies in its eco­nomic and social develop­ment roles are just catalyst meant to aid national devel­opment. The benefits of its policies to a national econo­my should be measured as an input to other economic ac­tivities and more important­ly should also be considered as complementary to other sectors.
The role of ICT as a gate­way to strong market econo­my cannot be undervalued; no wonder the Minister of communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu said that In­formation Communications Technology (ICT) industry has great impact on the Ni­geria citizens.
He said the challenges of service deficiencies, from broadband penetration to last mile fibre optic connec­tivity, and infrastructure def­icit are preventing Nigerians from gaining affordable and reliable access.
It is indeed an irony that despite the huge potential, commensurate impact of the ICT sector it has not been felt in the lives of many Nigerians.
Shittu has taken cogent steps to ensure that the com­munications sector is focused on information technolo­gy infrastructure develop­ment, promotion of ICT local content, ICT deployment in government, extending ICT access to Nigerians and pro­viding an enabling environ­ment for competitiveness in the industry.
Shittu affirmed that the afore mentioned would be tackled by adopting the So­cial, Mobile, Analytic, Radi­cal Openness, and Trust ap­proach “SMART”.
The “Social” aspect in­volves re-inventing govern­ment interaction with the citizens personally and col­lectively in such a way that it would involve improving and innovating delivery of servic­es by government.
The “Mobile” approach has to do with government’s mobility and agility in re­sponding to changing times using the latest mobile tech­nologies to deliver informa­tion and services and obtain citizen’s input and participa­tion by Apps, SMS, and social media amongst others.
It also intends to build an “Analytic” knowledge driven government by ensuring our national identity database is harmonized and customized to each citizen.
The ministry also canvas­es for a government that prac­tices “Radical Openness’’ with prudence such that account­ability and transparency in government would be redupdatee­fined and engage citizens in participatory governance as well as enable businesses to innovate new services via e-government deployment.
Also of paramount impor­tance is a government you can “Trust”.
“Our government will en­gender trust by deploying ICT to effectively secure our cities our critical national in­frastructure, our govrnment shall be available and we shall protect our partners’ privacy”, Shittu stated.
In the same vein Nigeri­an Communication Com­mission (NCC), recently un­veiled a road-map intended to promote innovation, invest­ment, competition, empow­erment of communication platforms as well as maximiz­ing the power of information and communication technol­ogy to grow the economy, cre­ate jobs and enhance nation­al combativeness through the deployment of broadband in­frastructure to facilitate roll out broadband service.
ICT is an integral part of modern life. It gives almost instant access to facts, ma­terials and booms our busi­nesses. It is vital that if Nige­ria must succeed as a nation it must enhance the life of its citizens by taking advantage of the breadth of knowledge and opportunity that ICT of­fers.
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