The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, says the enforcement of the Information Technology clearance process of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has saved the country over N22.45 billion.
The clearance process is set up to curb corruption and monitor government spendings in IT, and also, ensure the availability of accurate statistics on IT assets and investments.
Pantami was a speaker at a function organized by the All Progressives Congress (APC) professional forum in Abuja, on Thursday.
The event was held for government appointees to give an account of their performance in office.
The Minister who has been at the center of a controversy, as it was alleged that he is on the terror watch-list of the US government, said before President Muhammadu Buhari came into office SIM cards were importedi.
He said the present administration has made local production of both SIMcards and smartphones possible through the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector.
“We came up with a policy that in the next two to three years, a minimum of 60 to 70 per cent of what we need in the telecommunications sector is going to be produced locally and we have started it,” he said.
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“When this administration came on board, even SIM cards were imported into Nigeria. But as it is today, the federal government has provided an enabling environment for the private sector to produce SIM cards, not only for our consumption, but for the entire African continent.
“We have the capacity to produce a minimum of 200 million SIM cards annually and have provided an enabling environment for the private sector to start the production of smart phones. Today in Nigeria, we are producing smartphones.”
On the time spent in office, Pantami said his administration has worked towards supporting the three point agenda of the Buhari-led government which includes security, anti-corruption and economic development.
“Under this policy, over 727 institutions have complied with over 323 projects cleared in accordance with laid down guidelines,” he added.
“We successfully saved over N22.4 billion to the federal coffers by executing its mandate to support the Anti-corruption drive of the President Muhammad Buhari administration through the implementation of the Information Technology Projects clearance policy. Under this policy, over 727 Institutions have complied with over 323 projects cleared in accordance with the laid down guidelines”.
He noted that the sector has established over 300 ICT centres, fully funded by the federal government across all states of the federation, including the federal capital territory (FCT).
The minister added that under the digital Nigeria portal, over 210,000 citizens, including women, youths and the physically challenged, have been equipped with various digital skills for economic empowerment.