Mr Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has urged the private sector to help fund the ICT innovations as the veritable platforms for job-creation.
Ojobo made the call while addressing State House correspondents during the presentation of 30 young Nigerian innovators at the Aso Villa Demo Day on Friday.
He said ICT sector would grow the nation’s economy into billions of dollars provided a lot of developments could take place.
“What is required therefore now is for the private sector to support government in terms of providing the much-needed funding for these creative Nigerians to take their products to the next level.
“For instance, today Whatsapp is a platform, an App, created by a young man; Google, created by a young man; Facebook, created by a young man, a 32-year-old man.
“The interesting thing there is that ICT has the capacity to buoy up our external reserves if for instance there is a lot in that sector in terms of development.
“The value of Facebook today is about 30 billion dollars, which is really more than our external reserve. And that is just one( high) -tech company.
“So, you can imagine if we have a number of tech companies like that, wouldn’t be having the kind of challenge that we are having in terms of foreign exchange.
“So, really what this demonstrates today is that the plan of government in terms of diversification is beginning to take root.
“And through diversification it is very possible for us to quickly get out of recession and have the Nigerian economy begin again,’’ he said.
Ojobo expressed excitement at the presence of the initiator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, saying it demonstrated the seriousness of the event.
According to Ojobo no fewer than 16 million Nigerians are on Facebook with seven million of them daily visitors to the platform.
He added that 97 million Nigerians are on the internet, making the country the number one in Africa using the internet.
The NCC spokesman described innovators’ products being offered to Nigerians as “unique” with the potential to revive the economy if given the opportunity to take their innovations and creativity to greater heights.
Also speaking, the President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Mr Shola Aderounmu, applauded the federal government for initiating innovation programme.
“The Federal government of Nigeria is doing well.
“I want to encourage the federal government of Nigeria to really encourage especially the local ICT companies to really invest more on this start up because the focus is now to create wealth, build capacity and also to create more jobs in this country.
“So this is the best way for the government to go if eventually we want to solve this problem.
“So it is a great job that the government is trying to do.
“But we need more of this especially from the local ICT companies in Nigeria,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Information Minister Lai Mohammed, stressed the need for Nigerians to support the initiative to move the country from resource-based economy to knowledge-based one.
He said the event was an opportunity to see how technology could be deployed to address issues hitherto seen as intractable.
Mohammed said the technologies would transform the economy with maximum benefits if they are married to the creative industry.
“There must be marriage between technology and the creative industry to transform the creative industry to a creative economy,” Mohammed said.