The Federal Government is collaborating with the private sector to meet the national broadband penetration target by 2018, Mr Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, has disclosed.
Shittu made the disclosure on Sunday in Abuja in an interview with newsmen.
He explained that the idea of broadband penetration was for the Federal Government to put in place the required enabling environment for the private sector to get involved.
Broadband is a high-capacity transmission technique using a wide range of frequencies, which enables a large number of messages to be communicated simultaneously.
Nigeria plans to acquire its national broadband between 2013 and 2018.
The minister said that the involvement of the private sector in the project would provide the required funds needed for laying fibre optics across Nigeria.
He said that since his assumption of office at the ministry, he had been making efforts to encourage the private sector to show interest and be involved in the project.
“We have been doing our best to encourage foreign investors to come in and towards this end I have in the last two months visited Korea and China twice.
“We have also talked with a delegation of the American Chambers of Commerce, which has more than one million members to key into the project.
“And in the next one month, we will be visiting the American version of the industry to solicit their support.
“Government does not have the money to lay pipes and other infrastructure required; but what we try to do is to encourage investors and ensure that people have confidence in the Nigerian economy.
“They also appreciate the fact that Nigeria’s ICT’s door is a huge market with more than 180 million potential customers.
“So, we are doing all of these and I believe that the target will be met by the grace of God,” he said.
Shittu said that the Federal Government was providing leadership in the telecommunications sector, adding that the sector currently employed more people than the petroleum and gas sector.
He said that the telecoms sector was bringing in more income and jobs for Nigerians.
The minister said his ministry had a duty to ensure that an enabling environment was provided for telecoms companies to come in, invest and operate for the benefit of Nigerians.
He said: “We have been interacting within a very cordial atmosphere with operators in the entire telecoms sector.
“We have showed ourselves as partners in progress and we have made them to have a feeling that they own the industry and they own leadership of the industry.
“In addition, we are doing everything to ensure that we partner with them to make things easy for them to do business.”