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Piracy, oil price threatens Nigeria's ICT

Piracy, oil price threatens Nigeria's ICT.

Nigeria's government has expressed concern over the high loss of revenue as a result of piracy within the West African country's technology sector, the fastest growing within the local economy.

According to Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria's Minister of Communications, the country is losing about US$287 million annually to software piracy alone.

Speaking in Ibadan,  the Oyo state capital, at the Communication Sector Retreat, Shittu said Nigeria's ICT sector alone could create jobs for 40 million people and when properly channeled, the sector could add billions of dollars to the country's economy.

Currently ICT contributes just 9.58% towards Nigeria's GDP, Shittu added. "Despite this huge potential, ICT sector's commensurate impact had not been felt in the lives of many Nigerians," he said. "Given the absence of fiscal buffers in a time of low oil prices and rising unemployment rate, ICT, which already employs more Nigerians than the oil and gas sector, is poised to drive growth.

"We believe we can considerably increase government receipts within the sector," he said, adding that "a technology savvy workforce and SMART government play pivotal roles in raising revenue for government, improving efficiency, eliminating waste and generating employment for Nigeria's teeming masses."

With the government's SMART strategy, Shittu said the cost of governance will be reduced and revenue generation would become easier. "The Nigerian government will also support the promotion of online payments and enforcement of the payment of taxes and levies such as stamp duties while also using technology to ensure accountability in both private and public sectors."

The governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi, said stakeholders in Nigeria's ICT sector should evolve new ways that would revamp Nigeria's economy, which is threatened by the falling prices of crude oil in the global market.

"Nigeria is the largest ICT user in Africa with over 94 million internet users. Besides, ICT had created over 12 million jobs in the country in the last two years, and it could create even more if necessary frameworks were put in place," Ajimobi said.

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