By G9ija

The Federal Government on Thursday promised to make internet connectivity available in all of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria in the next four years.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Uduma Udo Udoma, revealed this during the 42nd Annual Conference of Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) in Lagos State.

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According to Udoma, works are ongoing to increase broadband penetration in all geopolitical zones of the country.

“Government has set up an Industrial Policy & Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council), with extensive private sector membership, as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector on the industrialization drive,” Udoma said.

“One of the projects supported by the Industrial Council, is a project to increase broadband penetration across all geopolitical zones of the country.

“This project is intended to ensure that within the next four years every single one of the 774 LGAs in the country will be provided with fibre connectivity.”

Speaking on Agriculture, Udoma said “through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, over N120.6 billion has been disbursed as concessionary loans to more than 800,000 farmers”.

This, he said, is for the cultivation of 12 different commodities including rice, wheat, cotton, soya beans, cassava, and groundnuts.

“To date, 11 Fertilizer Blending Plants with the capacity to produce 2.1 million metric tonnes have been revitalized,” he said.

Speaking further, Udoma stated that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) will bring about diversification in key sectors of the Nigerian economy,

“There is no doubt that we are making good progress in our efforts to revive and diversify the economy. However, is the economy sufficiently diversified? My answer is not yet,” he added.

“Whilst the oil and gas sector constitutes less than 10% of our GDP, it still represents too large a percentage of our foreign exchange earnings.

“We need to grow our non-oil exports to overtake oil in terms of our foreign exchange earnings as countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have achieved.

“This will take some time. However, there is no doubt in my mind that we are on the right track.

“If we consistently and faithfully continue with the implementation of the ERGP we will become an economic production powerhouse. We will be able to feed ourselves and have extra for export,” said the minister.