The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu has revealed that Nigeria loses $287 million worth of revenue annually on software piracy, stressing that ICT was the fastest growing sectors of the Nigerian economy and second largest in Africa.
The minister disclosed this yesterday while delivering his keynote address entitled: “Continuing Innovation While Innovating Continuity: Creating A SMART Digital Nigeria” at the maiden Communication Sector Retreat in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He stated that Information Technology (IT) outsourcing and e-Commerce sector alone could employ over 40 million Nigerians and contribute billions of dollars to the economy when appropriately channeled and nurtured.
The minister, however, regretted that despite this huge potential, the ICT sector’s commensurate impact had not been felt in the lives of many Nigerians.
He disclosed that at 9.58 per cent, ICT contributes about as much to GDP as Oil and Gas, adding that it was arguably one of the fastest growing sectors of the Nigerian economy and is the second largest, soon to be the largest ICT market in Africa.
Shittu added that given the absence of fiscal buffers in a time of low oil prices and rising unemployment rate, ICT, which already employs more Nigerians than the oil and gas sector, was poised to drive growth.
“We believe we can considerably increase government receipts within the sector,” he said, adding that a technology savvy workforce and SMART government play pivotal role in raising revenue for government, improving efficiency, eliminating waste and generating employment for Nigeria’s teeming masses.
According to him, SMART strategy of the government would reduce the cost of governance while making revenue generation easier .
The minister disclosed that government would promote online payments and support the enforcement of the payment of taxes and levies such as stamp duties while also using technology to ensure accountability in both private and public sectors.
He explained that the retreat was about ICT as a key element for inclusive as well as progressive diversification and development of Nigeria’s economy.