Omobola Johnson, minister of communications technology, is one of the few Nigerian ministers who are passionate about how their ministries can contribute to the growth of the economy. The minister, during the soft launch of the Broadband awareness campaign organised by Compact Communications Limited in Lagos, disclosed that the information and communication technology, ICT, would increase the nation’s gross domestic product, GDP, by three per cent if broadband penetration is increased from six per cent to 30 per cent by 2017. Currently at about eight per cent, Johnson is optimistic that the 11 per cent GDP target is achievable. According to her, “Today the ICT sector contributes just over 8 per cent to GDP. If we achieve our targets of a five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2017, we will deliver, through broadband, a phenomenal 3 per cent.”
Contrary to the belief of some Nigerians that the broadband is meant for the elite, Johnson explained that her ministry, through the National Broadband Strategy and Roadmap, would ensure the facility is made available and accessible to Nigerians from one local government to another across the country without any barrier. She urged all state governments to assist the telecommunications operators. “I am glad that state governors will host the ICT infrastructure that will deliver fast broadband rollout, but they must be ready to support telecoms operators to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Policy that was approved and released last year.”
She noted that if state governors allow telecoms infrastructure to be built quickly at reduced cost in their states, it would help deliver all the benefits of broadband in the country before 2017. According to her, the demand on existing infrastructure has reached breaking point because the private sector is not investing quickly enough due to some challenges like multiple tax and insecurity, among others.