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COVID-19: Digital Sector providing alternatives for those in isolation – Communications Minister

Nigeria’s Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, has said the digital sector is providing alternatives for people staying in isolation as a result of the Coronavirus disease.

Since the outbreak of the disease, Nigeria has recorded 12 confirmed cases.

Mr Pantami stated this while giving his remarks at the unveiling of the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.

“With coronavirus spreading across the globe and more people living in isolation, the minister said the digital and information communication sector is providing alternatives for people to stay in touch and institutions to provide the needed basic life-saving services to the populace,” a statement by Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, read.

Pantami said the broadband penetration is key to reviving the Nigerian economy.

Citing reports from the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, the Minister said 10 per cent broadband penetration in any country will improve its GDP by at least 4.6 per cent.

President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Thursday event, directed the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to work with all relevant government agencies to ensure full protection of critical national infrastructure.

Mr Buhari also flagged off of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training and launching of the Abuja Emergency Communication Centre and the National Emergency Toll-Free Number 112.

President Buhari expressed concern about the challenges faced by operators in the country, particularly vandalism of telecommunications equipment.

He assured the operators of government’s commitment to ensuring that all stakeholders have a conducive environment to ensure the successful implementation of the Broadband Plan, which seeks to boost broadband penetration as well as support the deployment of 4G across the country.

On the newly commissioned Emergency Communications Centre and Toll Free Number 112, the President explained that it further demonstrates his administration’s resolve to keep Nigerians safe.

”We have taken advantage of digital technologies to ensure that Nigerians in distress are only a dial away from the relevant emergency response institutions in the country.

”This will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve the security of lives and property,” he said.

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