By Nwakaego Alajemba and Emmanuel Fagbenle
Nigeria’s ICT sector has continued to impact tremendously on her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a remarkable 14.07% contribution in the first quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020) to underscore the gradual shift to a digital economy and the thickening value of the ICT sector in an economy largely dominated by crude oil export.
The ICT contribution to Nigeria’s GDP in Q1 2020 rose from 13.32% in Q1 2019 to 14.07%.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its newly released ‘Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product Report’ for Q1 2020, the GDP of Africa’s largest economy grew by 1.87% (year-on-year) in real terms in Q1 2020.
The non-oil sector contributed 90.50% to the nation’s GDP in Q1 2020 as opposed to the 9.50% contributed to total real GDP by the oil sector.
“It is noteworthy that the ICT sector contributed 14.07% to the total real GDP in Q1 2020, higher than its contribution a year earlier (13.32%) and in the preceding quarter, in which it accounted for 13.12%. This contribution is unprecedented,” said a delighted Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in Abuja at the weekend. The NBS QI 2020 report on the country’s GDP was released days back.
Despite hiccups, the technology sector has recorded steady rise in the last few years with improving policy and institutional frameworks including the renaming of the Communication Ministry to become the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy in a strategic move last year to rev up on economic digitisation thrusts.
Pantami noted that “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.”
The minister added in statement issued by his Technical Assistant (Information Technology), Dr Femi Adeluyi, that “the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how critical the ICT sector is to the growth of our country’s digital economy and, by extension, the general economy.”
Pantami further tasked stakeholders across all sectors to take advantage of “the federal government’s new focus on the digital economy to enable and improve their processes through the use of ICTs. This would enhance the output of all the sectors of the economy and boost Nigeria’s GDP.”