Pantami Secures N16.7bn Broadband Access For 18 Universities, 20 Markets

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami has secured N16.7 billion from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to provide broadband access for 20 markets and 18 schools in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He said another N1.96 billion has been granted by the Federal Executive Council to purchase 6,000 e-pad mobile devices for students in tertiary institutions under the Nigeria National Broadband Plan {NNBP, 2020- 2025}

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the broadband infrastructure Project and the unveiling of his book titled, “Skills Rather than Degrees”, which was organized by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

Prof. Pantami said one of the challenges hindering broadband penetration and services coverage in Nigeria is the infrastructural deficit across the country’s economy.

The Minister, however, noted that the implementation of the proposed project will give the country a push into economic advancement and create opportunities for digital job creation and innovations in the country.

He said: “A second broadband initiative being launched today is for the provision of broadband infrastructures for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs), tertiary and higher learning institutions across the country.

“I presented the programmes to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the 26th of October, 2022, and obtained approval for its implementation. This programme cost the government N16.7bn. It will provide broadband access to 20 markets and 18 schools across the 16 geopolitical zones of the country”.

“This will be significantly enhanced the quality and ease of access across our markets and educational institutions and will also deepen broadband penetration across the country.

Prof. Pantami listed the beneficiary tertiary institutions to include: the University Of Lagos, College Of Education (Special), Ibadan, as well as Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

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Others were: the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Federal University Of Technology, Owerri and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, The University of Calabar, University of Benin, University of Port Harcourt, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Bayero University, Kano, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina, Borno University, and ATBU, Bauchi.

Also included were: Gombe University, the Federal University of Technology, Minna, the University of Ilorin, and the University of Abuja.

Earlier, the minister, during his book presentation, with the title: “Skills Rather Than Just Degrees”, said the book identified the challenges confronting Nigerian tertiary institutions.

He said the book focused on the importance of skills, creative thinking, teamwork, and training and its potential impact in addressing the problems of unemployability, unemployment, and underemployment.

“I am very delighted to unveil my latest book. “I am passionate about the importance of skills and have been speaking about this at many events. This book is a research and production work implementing the paradigm shift that I am advocating’”, he said.

On his part, The FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Bello, commended Prof. Pantami for the giant strides he has recorded in the country, particularly the tremendous expansion of the personal identities of Nigerians, digital financial inclusion, and broadband penetration.

Mallam Bello said as part of its efforts to encourage broadband penetration, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would provide a 90% discount by collecting N14.50k per linear meter for any telecommunication companies that want to deploy broadband services within green areas in the FCT.

There were also goodwill messages from the EVC of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Secretary of the Nigeria University Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, various vice chancellors of universities and Directors General of agencies under the ministry of communications and digital Economy,

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