The Federal Government is currently considering data subsidy for Nigerians, in order to cushion the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, especially among the youths.
Mr Sunday Dare, Nigeria’s Minister for Youths and Sports, disclosed this during a podcast interview with Kadaria Ahmed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of Nigeria’s economy.
I asked Nigeria’s Minister for Youth and Sports Development @SundayDareSD if all his online programmes will mean he subsidises data for you.
This is what he said… pic.twitter.com/RvJypzseAQ
— Kadaria Ahmed (@KadariaAhmed) April 9, 2020
According to the Minister, the Federal Government is aware that the youth population will suffer the most impact of the COVID-19-induced economic crisis. This is why the government is considering measures to create a soft landing for them.
The internet is known to provide endless opportunities in this age of technology. Unfortunately, some Nigerian youths are unable to access the said opportunities due to the costs implication.
“We are going to get to a point at which the federal government might have come in to find a way to subsidize the data. If the government could subsidise petroleum products for a long time, now data is the new oil.
“Data is actually life now because that is what is engaging everyone now, and I think within the inner recesses of government, that consideration is on-going to see how they can partner with communications companies to kind of subsidize data,” Dare said.
He, however, noted that the data could not be entirely free because of the operation cost of the telecommunication companies which have to pay their staff and maintain their facilities.
Note that before the outbreak of the COVID-19, youth unemployment rate in Nigeria was estimated at around 30%. Sadly, due to the lockdown across major cities in the country, some companies have ordered their contract staff to embark on indefinite leave without pay.This could potentially mean that the number of unemployed people in the country will soon increase further.
Already, international experts have predicted massive job losses in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. On April 2, Forbes reported that Americans have lost ten million jobs already because of the virus; almost double the predicted figures.