The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has said that the Ministry is stepping up efforts to facilitate 95 per cent digital literacy skills in the next two years in the country.
He stated this during the 7th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Communications and Digital Economy with the theme “Leveraging the Gains of ICTs in Developing and Implementing A Digital Economy Strategy for Nigeria”) held at the Banquet Hall, Gombe House, Gombe State.
According to the Minister, to achieve basic, intermediate and advance skills in digital literacy in Nigeria, thereby bridging the existing gap, the unflinching support of all states governments would be required. He added.
He said, “This cannot be achieved alone by Federal Government, all the states must key-in to see that ICT literacy is provided to its indigenes. This is absolutely necessary for the implementation of digital economy”.
Pantami pointed out that, this is why Federal Government is agitating and advocating for all states to ensure basic knowledge of ICT is mandatory from Primary level to Secondary as this would create enabling environment for children to grow up with knowledge of ICT.
The Minister urged the states to work towards changing the perception of their indigenes and residents and make them understand that today ICT is not about socialization and ease of activities but for economic empowerment which the world economists have predicted that the 60% of the world economy will be dominated by digital economy and we do not want to be left behind. He stressed.
According to him, “To have Digital Nigeria means Federal, States and Local government must all be on board in order to achieved digital Nigeria, that is why it is very important to look at the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy. The responsibilities and implementations of the policy document should be borne by the Federal, States and Local governments”.
He said that the policy document is not static and there is room for council deliberations to be accommodated and stressed the need for integration of observations, recommendations, comments, and constructive criticisms from stakeholders.
The Minister reiterated that parastatals under the supervision of his Ministry are regulatory bodies as such they are required to come up with development regulations that will provide enabling environment to support the sector and make digital economy strive in Nigeria.
He said, “In the course of doing that they are not in any way urged or encouraged to come up with unnecessary restrictions but to ensure that these instruments are regulations that are to support the development of the sector”.
Earlier, the Executive |Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Manassah Daniel Jatau commended the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy for the choice of the state to host the highest national advisory body on ICT noting that the body also provides platform for planning, implementation, directing and coordination of policies, programmes and activities in the ICT sector of the Nigeria Economy.
He said Gombe state is fully committed to partnering with the Ministry in its current effort towards enhancing digital inclusion, connecting their people and opening up opportunities so that no community is left behind in the rapidly growing digital world.
On non performing loans, Aliu also disclosed that those days when insider-related abuse was rampant was over.
According to him, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has mandated the banks to always explain in their books facilities that are performing or not as classified or not classified.
He said bank shareholders also have a maximum limit they can borrow and a function of shareholders’ funds and the regulator would continue to enforce it.
“On loan, what we usually emphasise when we go to these banks, we look at lapses, analyse how banks give out its loans. If we see infractions, we interject but sometimes some of these facilities goes bad, not at the instance of the customers but economy.
Aliu said: “And this sometimes affect the performance of these loans and we are talking about various sectors, you see a lot of customers making effort but the economy is not assisting them in servicing their loans as and when due because their businesses are not really moving.”