The digital services in the country have contributed over 45% to the gross domestic product [GDP]. The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, made this known recently while reacting to the second quarter GDP statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics [NBS]. Dr. Pantami said the contributions of digital services were not factored into the figure released by NBS.
The NBS recently released 17.83 per cent as the contributions of ICT. But Dr Pantami said the ICT has been the enabler of every other sector as the public and private sectors now rely on digital services to achieve their goals. He added that if digital services were factored into the GDP computing, the digital services alone would be contributing over 45 per cent. “The 17.83 per cent GDP contribution for ICT was just for ICT as a standalone sector, this did not include the digital services. The digital economy sector could be more than 45 per cent. The sector is the key enabler of other sectors.
“For instance, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has gone digital to improve their tax collections; the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has also gone digital to improve their revenue collections, and likewise businesses in all other sectors. “This is impossible without technology and with that, digital services are contributing beyond 45 per cent to the GDP,” he said. Dr Pantami said the main challenge confronting the ICT sector is the higher importation against locally produced technology.
“We must increase the percentage of what we produce, we cannot continue to be a consuming nation. In the next few years, we must significantly reduce the percentage of importation, we must come up with policy strategies to achieve this,” he said. The Minister advised corporate organisations in the country to embrace the use of local technologies. “As organisations, let us embrace indigenous solutions, it might give us challenges, this is how other nations developed. Let us give priority to what we produce in Nigeria,” he advised.
Earlier, the Minister had described the Q2 ICT contribution to the GDP as unprecedented. According to him, “the growing contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP is a direct result of the focused and committed effort of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. “The strategic policy directions of the Federal Government include the inclusion of Digital Economy in the mandate of the Ministry, the unveiling and implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy and the National Broadband Plan, amongst others.
“As of July 2020, the broadband penetration in the country was 42.02 per cent, translating to a percentage increase of almost double digits in less than 1 year. This is another remarkable achievement. “The unprecedented contribution of ICT to Nigeria’s GDP can also be attributed to dynamic and results-oriented leadership which has been acknowledged and appreciated by a wide spectrum of the stakeholders in the sector.” Pantami added that the support of President Buhari has contributed immensely to the impressive developments in the sector.
NBS in the second quarter’s statistics had noted that the non-oil sector contributed 91.07 per cent to the nation’s GDP in Q2 2020 as opposed to the 8.93 per cent contributed to total real GDP by the oil sector. “It is worthy of note that the ICT sector contributed 17.83 per cent to the total real GDP in Q2 2020, 20.54 per cent higher than its contribution a year earlier and in the preceding quarter, in which it accounted for 14.07,” the NBS stated.
NBS said, “Nigeria’s GDP decreased by –6.10 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity during the quarter, which resulted from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.”