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tBs: Who Will Tell Shittu, Comms Minister ‘The Simple Truth’?

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata
Mr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications
Mr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications

Few days back, as I was gearing up for the day’s work, I received a beep on my phone. Oh, it was a message from one of those messages that I don’t hesitate to delete.

Even with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) raised sledge hammer waiting to slam any telco that flouts the ‘Do Not Disturb’ (DND) order, the hapless telcos are having ‘unreported’ battles with telemarketers who ride on their networks to send unsolicited SMS.

Back to the issue, so, this very morning, I was captivated by the message with started with Agriculture, probably, due to my recent interest in ‘agrotech’- that is the aura of leveraging technology to harness potentials in our agricultural sector.

The short, but captivating message read: “Agriculture was the ONLY major sector of the economy to record positive growth in 2016. Don't miss out in 2017 as Agriculture will record more positive growth. Get Agric Biz tips, reply Agric to 2707 @ N50/wk”. What!

To say the least, the sender of this message could have been a digital native who is just doing his/her usual marketing business using technology. In other words, it is good young people are leveraging technology to sell "uncool" sectors like agriculture.

Be that as it may, statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics tends to support this claim hence in nominal terms, NBS record shows the agriculture sector grew by 7.37% year-on-year.

This was lower than growth rates recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015 and also lower than the preceding quarter of 2016 by 1.97% points and 5.87% points respectively.

“Nigerian Telecommunications Summary Report December 2016” posted on its website, NBS also said that in real terms, the telecommunications sector contributed N1,399 billion to GDP in the third quarter of 2016, or 8.0%, which represents a decrease of 1.8% points relative to the previous quarter.

However, due to differing seasonal patterns, telecommunications accounted for the lowest share of GDP in the third quarter. The share of telecommunications in total real GDP had declined throughout 2010 to 2014, but for the last six quarters growth in telecommunications has been higher, meaning the trend has reversed.

From the NBS’s website, it seems the only wholsitic data on the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectorial contribution to the economy was gathered as far back as 2010-2012; which leaves one wondering if the Government is very serious about this industry.

That’s why it is important stakeholders gather to discuss models that will salvage this industry. Private operators are painstakingly innovating, but if we don’t have a ‘national ICT direction’ we might end up in rigmarole. We need the pragmatic innovators and ICT think-tank experts to tell Barrister Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications that young people seem not to understand the direction of this industry is headed now.

Why tBs?
Nigeria has to become a thinking Nation, if we must survive the coming, disruptive revolution which is upon the world.

This is one reason; I believe that Think Breakfast Series (tBs) is indeed a welcome development not just for the ICT industry but the Nation at large. This initiative therefore, is geared towards bringing industry experts together to brainstorm and discuss the biggest trends and topics that are impacting the industries in Nigeria.

If you are top executive and you want to join others such as Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, Chairman, Open Media Group; Tunde Coker, MD, Rack Centre; Yele Okeremi, MD, Precise Financial Systems, James Agada, CEO, Computer Warehouse Group; Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Founder/Chairman, SOFEE, Chris Uwaje, Director General, Delta State Innovation Hub; Ikechukwu Nnamani, Medallion; Sunday Folayan, President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Mohammed Rudman, Managing Director, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) and many others too numerous to mention, then contact the team

Leading excellent brands that have thrown their weight behind tBs is Rack Centre, Africa's leading multi-award winning tier III data centre, which has shown total commitment to providing top quality collocation services in a secure environment.

The Managing Director of Rack Centre, Tunde Coker will be on ground to share his perspectives on the essentials of a knowledge driven economy while ensuring that progress is made in a sustainable manner.

The series has been lauded by experts across various industries and it is brought to you by Nigeria CommunicationsWeek and tBs holds on the 22nd of February, 2017 at the Prime Chinese Restaurant, Victoria Island.