By Emmanuel Elebeke
The National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA says it is set to launch a new Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan to boost economic potentials of the nation’s information and Communication Technology, ICT sector.
The Director General of the agency, Mallam Abdullahi Kashifu, announced this during the NITDA @20 Anniversary conference held in Abuja on Monday.
He informed that the new roadmap was designed to make the IT sector the leading sector of the economy, create more activities and ignite a lot of innovations in the IT sector, help create enabling environment and also position Nigeria to tap into the 4th industrial revolution.
He said NITDA has been working assiduously to help Nigeria catch the train of the 4th industrial revolution without leaving any sector of the economy behind, noting that the agency has played critical roles in national development by providing the legal framework for information technology development, pioneering IT developmental projects, facilitating access to information technology goods and services, catalysing job creation and ensuring national security.
‘‘We are going to unveil a new Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan crafted to help to make the IT sector the leading sector of the economy, create more activities and ignite a lot of innovations in the IT sector, help create enabling environment and also position Nigeria to tap into the 4th industrial revolution.
‘‘I am happy to say that NITDA has substantially actualised the National IT Policy’s goal to digitise Nigeria and the Agency is now in the phase of digitalising the country. What is the difference between digitisation and digitalisation? Digitisation means using IT to enhance traditional processes. In comparison, digitalisation means using IT to deliver new value propositions through innovation. It is about taking advantage of IT as a source of inspiration and strategic national economic, security and social platform.
‘‘There is no doubt that there are a lot of achievements recorded by the Agency since its establishment. These achievements include huge ICT contribution to GDP from less than 0.5% in 2001 to more than 14% in 2020, catalysing job creation and igniting innovative activities in the tech ecosystem. Likewise, we have achieved a lot in digital inclusion and literacy. As a result, now we are witnessing the emergence of new economic sectors like Fintech, eCommerce, Venture Capital investment, Business Process Outsourcing, Data Protection Compliance Organisations, IT equipment manufacturing, and robust software industry.’’
With the release of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), Abdullahi said NITDA has created a new industry, stimulated new business models, and empowered thousands of Nigerians through capacity building and skills development.
‘‘We licensed 72 Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs), created over 2,686 new jobs roles in the industry, developed a new data protection sector valued at around 2.2 billion Naira. The Agency has also successfully investigated and issued data breach fines to many organisations, including public institution. More importantly, other countries are looking up to the Agency for guidance on Data Protection Regulation.’’
On how the agency had assisted in curbing insecurity via technology, the NITDA boss said: NITDA’s mandate is on cyber security where he said much had been achieved in containing cyber security in the country.
‘‘You need to have a cyber security Strategy because there is no technology that will make you to be 100 percent secure. 95 percent of cyber security incidents are due to human error, the major strategy is awareness on how people can protect their personal data and confidential information, that is why we came up with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation to help businesses have a secured and trusted platform.
‘‘NITDA is enforcing the regulation to ensure that everyone comply. There is nothing much to worry about it, Nigeria has the population and we are creating enabling law and environment to attract that kind of investment.’’
Kashifu, who described the choice of Ghana for the establishment of Twitter hub in Africa as a non issue, said his focus is on how to empower our startups to start creating apps that can harness data from Twitter and make the ecosystem stronger for our citizens, so we focus more on creating the local ecosystem.
‘‘It is not just about a multinational coming to set up a business in Nigeria but how can Nigerians benefit from that platform.
‘‘Our focus is more on how our startups create apps that can harness data from Twitter and make the ecosystem stronger for our citizens so we focus more on creating the local ecosystem.’’
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali
Pantami said NITDA has achieved a lot in the area of fighting corruption through implementation of IT Clearance policy which has saved N2 billion for the federal government.
Another area he commended NITDA for is in the area of Nigeria data protection regulation which aims at data protection and privacy as a Constitutional right .
The Minister also praised NITDA for building the capacity of youths, women, people with disabilities and all strata of people in the country.
‘‘One of the policy of the present administration is fighting corruption and IT project clearance is one of the strategic areas where corruption has been fought when it comes to fighting corruption in federal public institutions, IT project clearance has saved N2 billion for the federal government. There is a high level of integrity in the process of IT clearance in the country.
‘‘Today you cannot release data publicly unnecessarily. Nigeria is the giant of Africa not only in the GDP and population but also in data protection and data privacy and many African countries are making reference to Nigeria’s data protection and data privacy while trying to come up with their own draft data protection regulation.’’
‘‘It projects clearance has saved billions for Nigerian government. In April 2012, there was a recommendation by the Oransonye Committee to scrap NITDA but today, no one talking about scrapping the agency but the present discussion is how to give additional responsibilities to the agency, this is a significant change, taking an institution from the position of whether it deserves to exist to the position where the agency is one of the most effective, efficient and most performing agency in the country. The sector pulled out the country from recession,’’ he said.
He encouraged NITDA to redouble its efforts. Federal government in appreciation of the work of NITDA approved a new condition of service and the career structure to encourage the staff of the agency.
In his goodwill message, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, hailed NITDA for a milestone achievement in a period of 20 years.
According to Dambatta, the agency has met the expectations of Nigerians in the past 20 years of its existence.