By Nwakaego Alajemba
Plateau State has approved an enhanced Plateau Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy and Strategic Plan to drive its vision of improving quality of life of Plateau citizens by ensuring affordable, universal access to high grade ICT facilities and services within Plateau State. The state is targeting to become among the best Three ICT Hubs in West Africa by 2025 and plans zero cost on Right of Way (RoW) that should attract broadband connectivity companies like MainOne and Phase3 to help expand the frontiers for cheap internet access.
A statutory ICT regulatory agency: Plateau Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (PICTDA) has the mandate to manage its ICT goals to promote “a globally competitive modern ICT enabled economy and knowledge-based Information Society where strong, efficient and sustainable improvements in social, economic, cultural, good governance and regional integration are achieved through the deployment and effective use of ICT.”
In over a year, PICTDA has sought to create awareness, encourage synergy on tech integration among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) within the state; and also build capacity through several policy-windows designed to improve ICT penetration and usage in Plateau State.
The newly approved ICT Policy and Strategic Plan will strengthen the resolve of Governor Simon Lalong to have a knowledge-driven ecosystem, able to leverage entrepreneurship and promote socially inclusive growth.
Plateau State has a population of around 3.5 million people and more than half that figure are below 30 in age making it imperative for the state to leverage ICT to build new skillsets in its huge population of young people..
It is envisaged that the new policy will encourage a state-wide rapid deployment of ICT infrastructure, induce more gender participation in tech development and operations across the state, particularly the female gender; and use ICT to create a conducive environment for the promotion of investment and sustenance of a vibrant local economy across all sectors including agriculture, mining, transportation, health, education, tourism and creative arts, and fintech among others.
Since 2018, Plateau State has quietly led a policy and regulatory revolution in getting states more involved in ICT beginning with its establishment of PICTDA through an Act of Parliament. No state of the federation has achieved that so far.