Pantami Says ICT Contributes 17.83 Percent To GDP
Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communication and Digital Economy, has disclosed that, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contributed 17.83 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2020.
He disclosed this while presenting the ministry’s 2021 budget proposal and the 2020 budget performance before the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Communications and ICT on Monday.
He said the contribution was an increase from 13% recorded within the same period in 2019.
However, members of the joint committee questioned the sharp increase of N21.9 billion in the 2021 budget proposal of the ministry above the 2020 budget.
They also asked the minister to explain why monies released to the Ministry in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020 was higher than the actual approval given to the Ministry.
The lawmakers also asked the minister why the Ministry proposed about 76 new projects in the 2021 budget when several projects of the Ministry are still ongoing.
Rep. Akeem Adeyemi, chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, specifically said the minister should explain the disparities between what was approved for the Ministry in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020 and what was released with the releases higher than what was approved.
He also questioned the utilisation of the funds released to the Ministry for the implementation of a number of projects, which are still either awaiting BPP approval or the procurement process is ongoing.
“Can the Honourable Minister guarantee this Joint Committee that projects in these categories would be executed before the expiration of the current fiscal year?” he asked.
He said the budget defence process will enable the Legislature to identify projects that have been concluded; those that are ongoing; those that remain unexecuted; and the reasons, if any, why some projects are not executed.
Responding, the minister said, the variation and why the amount is higher than the previous year, is to accommodate the proposal of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
“That’s the major variation there, their budget now is part of our own and if you look at their salary it’s over 5 billion naira and I think that could be the reason.
“The Joint committee presentation has been very effective to us. Whenever you have the privilege to make presentation, it goes a long way in making your work much easier.
“In addition, the Chairman of the Senate and House Committee on Telecommunications raised some important issues. I will make an attempt to respond to them,” the minister said.