Minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami has stated that the enforcement of information technology clearance process of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) saved Nigeria over N22.45 billion.
The clearance process is designed to among others help curb corruption and track government spendings in IT, ensure the availability of accurate statistics on IT assets and investments.
This statement was made by the minister while speaking at an event organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) professional forum in Abuja, on Thursday.
The event was organised by the forum for government appointees to give account of their stewardship in office to Nigerians.
Speaking at the event, Pantami said SIM cards were imported into the country prior to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said upon assuming office, the incumbent administration created an enabling environment for the private sector to produce SIM cards and smartphones for both local consumption and exportation.
“We came up with a policy that in the next two to three years, a minimum of 60 to 70 per cent of what we need in the telecommunications sector is going to be produced locally and we have started it,” he said.
“When this administration came on board, even SIM cards were imported into Nigeria. But as it is today, the federal government has provided an enabling environment for the private sector to produce SIM cards, not only for our consumption, but for the entire African continent.
“We have the capacity to produce a minimum of 200 million SIM cards annually and have provided an enabling environment for the private sector to start the production of smart phones. Today in Nigeria, we are producing smartphones.”
On the time spent in office, Pantami said his administration has worked towards supporting the three point agenda of the Buhari-led government which includes security, anti-corruption and economic development.
“Under this policy, over 727 institutions have complied with over 323 projects cleared in accordance with laid down guidelines,” he added.
“We successfully saved over N22.4 billion to the federal coffers by executing its mandate to support the Anti-corruption drive of the President Muhammad Buhari administration through the implementation of the Information Technology Projects clearance policy. Under this policy, over 727 Institutions have complied with over 323 projects cleared in accordance with the laid down guidelines”.
He noted that the sector has established over 300 ICT centres, fully funded by the federal government across all states of the federation, including the federal capital territory (FCT).
The minister added that under the digital Nigeria portal, over 210,000 citizens, including women, youths and the physically challenged, have been equipped with various digital skills for economic empowerment.