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NDRP is a fundamental instrument needed to digitally transform Nigeria – Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has described the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), as crucial in the nation’s digital economy pursuit.

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Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, delivering a keynote during Privacy Week 2021

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has described the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), as crucial in the nation’s digital economy pursuit.

He said this remark in a keynote at the grand finale of Global Privacy Day Celebration 2021 organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Thursday, January 28, 2021.

Pantami said that 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.

“One irony of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has actually mainstreamed the digital economy. Rather than travelling by air, sea and land to host an event like this, we have impacted more people from around the world without gathering together physically.

“The Oxford Economics values the global digital market at $11.5 trillion dollars or approximately 16% of the Global Economy.  This value is expected to grow significantly over the coming years.

“McKinsey and Company has predicted that the Digital Economy in Africa is expected to grow to over $300 billion by 2025. The World Economic Forum predicts that over 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that over the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70% of new value and jobs. 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.

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“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.

Speaking, specifically on the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDRP), the Minister said that 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.

“The current efforts of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in encouraging Nigerians to register for the National Identity Number (NIN) is a strategic and critical national effort to ensure Nigerians have a credible, converged and consistent database for identity purposes.

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“The value of this 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.

“Identifying every Nigeria is a soft infrastructure needed to achieve our digital economy objective. Indeed, the needed pieces for the digital economy is falling in place and we are committed to laying a solid and lasting foundation for a digital Nigeria”.

In order to strengthen the NDPR, the Minister assured NITDA of the Ministry’s full support in the drive to achieve compliance.

He further encouraged 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 Ministry is also working with relevant organs of government to ensure Nigeria passes a well-thought, digital-economy propelling Data Protection Act. I also assure our stakeholders and the international community that we are putting in place requisite mechanisms for the institutional framework to implementation ensure successful implementation of the Bill as soon as it is passed into law.

“The lessons from the NDPR would form the foundation for the Act and we hope to continue playing a leading role in deepening data protection and digital economy in Africa.

“I implore the African Union Commission and our international partners to support Nigeria’s call for creating an African Single Digital Market (ASDM).

“This would enable the continent gain the advantage of economies of 1.3 billion people. The ASDM would also help us have data sovereignty in such a way as to protect data while also protecting the multinational technology investors”.

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