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July 10, 2024

National Digital economy and e-Government Bill ‘ll inject $18.3bn into Nigerian economy -Minister

Alleged NIMC data breach under probe — FG

Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani

By Emmanuel Elebeke – Abuja

Minister of Communications Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijjani, has said that the National Digital Economy and e- Governance Bill currently before the National Assembly, when passed into law will not only attract huge investments into the economy but help to transform the Nigerian economy but make it to be globally competitiveness.

The Minister stated this during a media engage to sensitize the public about the Bill in collaboration with the Senate House Committees on ICT and Cyber Security.

The Minister, who spoke on the benefits of the bill also disclosed that the bill when passed into law the Digital economy sector in Nigeria is projected to generate about $18.3 billion to the Nigerian economy, an indication of the sector’s critical role to the country’s development.

He also said that the bill which passed through first reading on Monday is expected to enhance the sector’s capacity and attract more investment as well a create millions of jobs for the youth.

Tijani, who described the digital economy sector as a backbone for any economy and said that Nigeria is one of the top two destinations for Foreign Direct Investment on the Africa continent, stating that the bill will accelerate the progress in the nation’s digital economy sector.

He assured that the content of the updated bill, which is the first of its kind, will be available from July 23, 2024, while efforts were being intensified to sensitize the public across the states on the objectives and benefits of the bill.“

“We promised to support this bill and our hope is that it will be the first to travel across the entire country. It is also supported by the World Bank; therefore we have to ensure that we take this bill to every state in Nigeria.

“It is a bill that is important for all of our people and we want to give them the opportunity to review it. We believe that the bill will support the growth and transformation of the Nigerian economy through the application and the use of digital technology in all facets of life in Nigeria. This bill will create the enabling environment for fair competition, to promote innovation, growth and competitiveness for the Nigerian economy.”

He said the Nigerian digital landscape is replete with thriving indigenous companies which fall within the classification of companies that are worth a billion dollars. He added that the vibrancy of these companies in not just generating billions of dollars but in creating quality jobs is an indication of a thriving digital economy which when incentivized with a legislative framework can boost the economy further.

“The bill has the potential to unlock opportunities and raise productivity in every other sector. If the digital economy is strong, it will catalyze development and progress in for instance education. We can use technology to better educate our people to create jobs for our young people.

“Nigeria is the future of the world because of our young population, but we must strengthen the digital sector with more investment,” the Minister added.

Earlier in his address, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, while giving a breakdown of the bill said the bill when passed into law will serve as an enabler to achieve the eight point agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

The DG, who was represented by the Acting Director for Standards Guidance and Framework of NITDA Mr. Emmanuel Edet, “The essence of the bill is to enhance the digital economy in Nigeria especially in government and the private sector. The ecosystem is booming and there is the need for us to harness the potential of this ecosystem in order to drive the economic desires based on the advantages we have in terms of capacity and in terms of other facilities that are available.”

The Bill is structured to ensure the validity of electronic or digital transactions, digital contracts, signatures and time stamps, utilization of digital technology to support the carriage of goods and consumer protection for digital transactions.

Other areas that the Bill is structured to cover include; digital government infrastructure administration and management, the use of technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain for public services , data exchange, interoperability, and Information security in government.

Others include; innovation and procurement for digital technology in Nigeria’s public sector digital literacy to support increased use and consumption of digital services in Nigeria.