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Data protection: FG licenses 27 firms, targets 300,000 jobs

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By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Federal government has granted licenses to 27 data protection companies with a target of creating 300,000 jobs through the new sector.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami disclosed this yesterday at the National Privacy Week Awareness Workshop organized by NITDA  at NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.

He also disclosed that  the 27 companies have so far created over 1,000 jobs, while the sector is currently worth about N2 billion.

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The creation of the sector, he said follows the   launch of the NITDA’s regulatory instrument, the National Data Protection Regulation, NDPR in 2019.

Pantami who emphasized the importance of data protection maintained that data remains key to achieving a digital economy.

The minister, who advocated for increased awareness on data protection, stated that protection of citizens’ data is a fundamental human right that must be upheld at all times as stipulated in the constitution.

He called for regular update of applications and adoption of latest software to guarantee data privacy.

“Data Privacy is key to digital economy. Nigeria’s data protection policy is dearest to me because without data protection, nothing can be achieved in a digital economy.

“And for us to migrate to a digital economy, data protection must be guaranteed. It is for this reason that NITDA NDPR needs awareness,” said the Minister.

In his welcome address, the CEO and Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa said that NITDA plans to generate 300,000 jobs from the data protection sector because data is an industry in itself.

He said that since the issuance of the regulatory instrument, NDPR, the agency had achieved data privacy protection, secure exchange of data, improve business environment, and create sustainable jobs.  And from the implementation strategy and sustained public awareness, he  said that NITDA had set up Administrative Redress Panel for hearing cases of a breach to provide an Alternative Dispute Resolution forum for aggrieved entities and also established Legal and Political Structure for Sustainability.

“Our strategy is to create a workable, credible implementation process that would assist the National Assembly in its desire to pass a Data Protection Bill.  “A number of investigations have been carried out and parties that have been involved in data breaches have been given a compliance notice while our investigation is going on to ascertain the veracity of the responses being received.”

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