Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, on Thursday urged Nigerians to register for their National Identity Number (NIN) which would be a great tool toward achieving a digital economy.
Pantami said this at the Global Data Privacy Day celebration organised nationally by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja.
Global Privacy Day is being celebrated every Jan. 28, to raise awareness on the need for data privacy both for individuals and public institutions in line with best global practices.
In Nigeria, the week-long programme had its theme as “Harnessing Data as Critical Infrastructure for the Digital Economy” and featured webinars,quiz competition by secondary school students,among other activities.
“The current efforts of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in encouraging Nigerians to register for NIN is a strategic and critical national effort to ensure Nigerians have a credible, converged and consistent database for identity purposes.
“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,” Pantami said.
According to him, 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.
He said that the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) eatablished on Jan. 25, 2019 was a critical regulation to a digital economy and needed all stakeholders to take it seriously.
Pantami commended NITDA on its effort to implement the NDPR adding that the Federal Government would suppprt the agency to ensure compliance to the regulation and enforcement where necessary.
“Data must therefore be harnessed and properly regulated in order to achieve an orderly use of such valuable asset.
“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,” he said.
He added that the ministry was working with relevant organs of government to ensure a comprehensive Data Protection Act that would drive digital economy.
According to him, 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.
Pantami urged African Union Commission and international partners to support the country toward an African Single Digital Market (ASDM) to boost economy in the region.
“The ASDM would also help us have data sovereignty in such a way as to protect data while also protecting the multinational technology investors.”