Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has hinted that the ongoing registration of National Identity Number would help Nigeria to curb crime and criminalities as well as helping the country to achieve digital economy.
Pantami disclosed this on Thursday while presenting a keynote address at the Global Privacy Day Celebration, 2021.
He stated that the value of the registration exercise would become appreciated with the ease at which e-government services would be delivered, the reduction in crime, and general efficiency guaranteed by the database.
According to him, “Identifying every Nigeria is a soft infrastructure needed to achieve our digital economy objective.
“Indeed, the needed pieces for the digital economy are falling in place and we are committed to laying a solid and lasting foundation for a digital Nigeria.
“I am more delighted to see that NITDA, in collaboration with public and private stakeholders has infused a lot of innovation to the organization of this year’s Privacy Week despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“The Digital Economy is developing at a remarkable rate and it has been widely accepted as the single most important driver of Innovation, Competitiveness and Growth.
“The digital economy is fundamentally transforming the way societies, businesses including the business of governance operate and deliver services.”
The Minister also disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic has actually mainstreamed the digital economy as people can now hold events without gathering together physically.
He further extolled the benefits of digital economy, noting that nations of the world are embracing digital economy because of the multiplier effects it can have on other sectors of the economy.
“Most nations are prioritizing the need to develop their digital economies because they realize the multiplier effects that this can have on all other sectors of the economy.
“The currency of the digital economy is personal data. Digital platforms require information such as names, emails, phone numbers, geo-data among other personally identifiable information to be able to fulfill their service promise and to do effective marketing.
“Data must therefore be harnessed and properly regulated in order to achieve an orderly use of such valuable asset.
“When I signed the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation two years ago, I knew it was a fundamental instrument needed to digitally transform Nigeria. I am very proud of the Director General and the NITDA staff who have worked hard not only to implement the NDPR, but have done so seamlessly with local and international stakeholders. The array of partners of the Privacy Week shows that NITDA is representing government well, hence the show of support by the private sector.
“It is very gratifying that Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR approved the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and our recommendation to re-designate the Federal Ministry of Communications to become Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
“The 8 pillars of the NDEPS have been our core vision and implementation focus. These pillars are- Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Soft Infrastructure; Service Infrastructure; Digital Services Development and Promotion; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Promotion and Adoption.
“In order to strengthen the NDPR, I want to assure NITDA of the Ministry’s full support in the drive to achieve compliance.
“I therefore encourage the Agency to rev up the engine of enforcement. Public and private sector data controllers must now take note that non-compliance with the NDPR is a breach with administrative, civil and criminal liabilities”.
The Minister also noted that they are working with relevant organs of government to ensure Nigeria passes a well-thought, digital-economy propelling Data Protection Act.
He further assured stakeholders and the international community that they are putting in place requisite mechanisms for the institutional framework to ensure successful implementation of the Bill as soon as it is passed into law.
Pantami explained that the lessons from the NDPR would form the foundation for the Act and hopes that it continues playing a leading role in deepening data protection and digital economy in Africa.
He however called on African Union Commission and international partners to support Nigeria’s call for creating an African Single Digital Market (ASDM).
This he said would enable the continent gain the advantage of economies of 1.3 billion people, stressing also that the ASDM would help Africa have data sovereignty in such a way as to protect data while also protecting the multinational technology investors.