That information Communication and Technology is rapidly becoming, if it has not already become, a key part of every business seeking success is without doubt. Every sector now has to rely on some sort of application of ICT or the other. That is why any country seeking economic advancement needs to pay special attention to ICT.
Nigeria has become more and more ICT reliant and compliant and this has reaped gains for it. For example, according to the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, he Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector increased its contribution to the country’s nominal GDP by 0.37%, moving from 12.25% in first quarter to 12.62%.
Considering that Nigeria’s GDP is heavily reliant on crude oil, the role of ICT takes on added meanin as it becomes one of the highest contributors to the GDP after crude oil. Crude oil prices are falling and militants are not making production as seamless as it should be. The country is hit by recession and the omens are not looking too good. Diversification is key and like Shittu said, ICT remains one of the viable options for diversification.
Knowing this, ICT takes on added importance to the Nigerian economy. The Federal Government is thus redoubling efforts to increase ICT’s contribution to the country’s GDP, as according to Shittu “we [FG] consider it to be a veritable alternative to the oil sector whose contributions have dwindled over the past year.”
However, the development of ICT has also come with its own downsides. Primary among them is the rapid upturn in the number of cybercrimes being committed as well as other security concerns. Highlighting this fact, the Minister of Communications said in the financial services world of today, banking transactions are fast leaving the four walls of brick and mortar branches to the clouds; increasing transactions are being done via ATM, POS, Internet banking, mobile money, and NEFT; account opening is now possible on social media platforms such as Facebook… This developmental approach, as good as it is, is faced with war with cybercriminal elements.”
This is evident in the 3,500 new cases of cybercrimes recorded in 2016 alone with estimated losses already reaching $450 million. If Nigeria is going to continue looking to ICT as an alternative to the dominant crude oil sector, it is imperative that the Hyde must be eliminated from the current Jekyll and Hyde setup of ICT.