The Nigerian Government has unveiled the Digital Economy Policy with a directive to the National Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to ensure compliance with the National Data Protection Policy.
President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the policy at the 12th eNigeria Conference organised by NITDA which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the Nigerian capital city.
The President who also unveiled the Digital Economy Strategy and Action Plan for Digital Nigeria noted the role of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) in using ICT to grow the country’s GDP.
He noted that it underscores the beauty of diversification of the economy, urging agencies in the Ministry to sustain the tempo of activities to grow the economy just as he tasked the Ministry to ensure adequate public sensitisation on National Data Protection Policy.
Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta had in his speech applauded the spate of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use in Nigeria and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is currently at 13.86 % of the GDP.
He stated that the outcome of the conference will help galvanise both public and private sector interests in deepening digital transformation process, crystallise home-grown innovations to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria, and unlock the digital economy the country desires.
Chief Executive Officer, Mainone Cable, Ms Funke Opeke, who was the keynote speaker challenged the government on telecoms infrastructure expansion.
Opeke called on the FG to produce a comprehensive and clear ICT policy and strategy, institute policy for robust infrastructure development and remove all obstacles to infrastructure expansion by operators such as strangulating taxes and regulations in order to heighten job creation potentials of digital transformation.
She said that Nigeria “must ensure that global players in the country domesticate technology so that more jobs are created” and to ensure Nigerians do not end up as perpetual consumers of imported technological products.
Opeke advised that Nigeria needed to implement the right type of incentives to ensure that young technologically-innovative companies can survive.
She also recommended that digital economy offices should be established in each geographical zone of the country while affirming that digital economy can add N2 trillion to the nation’s economy in the next four years.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami spoke about the achievements of the Ministry since he assumed office. These include the commissioning of more Emergency Communication Centres (ECC), all of which were constructed by the NCC based on the directive of the Federal Government.
Pantami also stated that about 300 Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) structures in the country will be transferred to facility management entities for recontruction and use to generate money for government.
The Minister recalled that the Ministry is in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Entrepreneurship Accelerated Programme while noting that the synergy between the Ministry and NCC which led to deactivation or proper registration of about 9 million invalidly-registered Subscriber Identification (SIM) cards, many of which were used to undermine the nation’s security by criminal elements.
The conference plenary was also attended by the President of Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications; a representative of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr. Abdullahi Sule, heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, and representatives of many international agencies