The Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has called for the effective use of citizens’ data that are being generated in the current digital economy being driven by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The Minister who spoke last Friday, when he delivered the 29th Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, added that managing such data and making the economy data-driven held great potential for the country’s economic prosperity and enhancement of security architecture.
During the lecture titled, “Datafication of Society: Economic and Security Issues in Producing and Using Public and Private Data in Nigeria,” Pantami affirmed that a digital economy had been widely accepted as the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and economic growth.
This, he stated, explained why, the new mandate of the Ministry is the development of the economy, leveraging technology, in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government.
The minister also enumerated the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) recently unveiled by President Muhammad Buhari to include developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services development and promotion, soft infrastructure, digital society and emerging technologies, as well as indigenous content promotion and adoption.
He noted that Nigeria was moving into an era where the wealth of the nation will be measured by digital resources and the innovation of Nigerians.
“So, the NDEPS has a very strong data theme and datafication is an important aspect of the implementation across all the eight pillars. Data is critical to the success of the digital economy and scholars now refer to data as the new oil as data drives the digital economy and the digital economy drives the growth of the traditional economy,” he said.
Pantami particularly explained that the 6th item of NDEPS – the soft infrastructure – would address the issue of data management in public and private sector organisation, address cybersecurity and safety issue while transacting online.
He said that digital society and emerging technologies supported development of high-level skills that will enhance the aptitude of Nigerians to use public data and anonymous private data for social good, towards creating wealth from data.
The Minister further added that, “the academia and young innovative Nigerians such as those graduating have a key role to play in datafication to prosper the economy.”
The event was attended by many prominent Nigerians, students, members of the academia and many development enthusiasts.
Among these were Prof. Adeolu Akande, Board Chairman-designate, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC; Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Maimuna Abubakar, Board Chair, Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), members of NCC Board of Commissioners and many representatives of other agencies of government.