States and local governments in the country have been urged to partner with the Galaxy Backbone Plc, a federal government agency in charge of its infrastructure, so as to ensure digital inclusion.
This was the position of the Galaxy managing director, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe during a recent presentation on the developmental opportunities inherent in the National Information Communication and Education Programme (NICEP) for the members of the National Economic Council (NEC).
Mr. Ilukwe informed the Council that more than ever before, especially with global economic crisis and falling prices of crude oil, it had become imperative for the Federal and State Governments to seek alternative ways of leapfrogging the country into the 21st century knowledge economy.
“Nigeria can strategically position to compete in the knowledge economy by acquiring the right infrastructure and implementing human capacity development strategies relevant in the new millennium,” he said.
Ilukwe, therefore, proposed a partnership framework through which the 36 State Governments can extend the reach of NICEP services to cover all State Capitals and Local Governments in the country.
NICEP is an ICT policy intervention programme approved by the Federal Government in 2007 to provide accelerated connectivity for broadband internet, data, voice and video communications to rural and underserved communities including educational institutions in the country.
He further noted that the network could be leveraged upon to bring many sustainable developmental initiatives to all Nigerians.
Specifically, the network would assist government to facilitate the digital inclusion of underserved communities, assist in the area of human capacity development and deliver beneficial e-services to citizens. Already, more than 1000 locations across the country have been connected to this network.
Ilukwe emphasized that to provide internet access, the network is capable of supporting ICT based solutions targeted at universal access, health, education, poverty alleviation, wealth creation, as well as those focused on enhancing public sector efficiency.
“With so many public services going online, for example, JAMB, NECO registration and recruitment into some government agencies, the need to provide access to people in rural areas can never be overemphasized,” he said.
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