By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has disclosed that the effective implementation of the National Data Protection Regulation from 2019 to 2020 by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has earned the country over N2 billion and created 2686 direct jobs.
Dr. Pantami made the disclosure Friday in Abuja during the public presentation of the implementation report by NITDA.
Dr. Pantami who was happy with NITDA said, the agency’s achievement was the intent of the government.
“I have reviewed the report we are about to launch today. I am proud to see that we have through the NDPR added 2,686 job roles, thereby creating massive opportunities for young Nigerians to be recruited as Data Protection Officers, Data Protection Compliance Organisations, Compliance officers among others.
“The DPCOs have also earned over N2 billion in the first year of implementation. This is the intent of our digital economy policy- empowering Nigerians in a way that ensures global competitiveness,” he said.
Speaking further he said, “In my assessment of the great work done so far, I still see room for more enforcement. NITDA, as the data protection authority, has my full support to ensure entities who wantonly breach personal data are brought to book as soon as possible.
“I am aware of some quick loan service providers who use personal data to defame and threaten their customers, such issues should be looked into in line with the NDPR. I also want to state that non-filing of data protection audit is a violation of the law. Enforcement of this provision would be more vigorously pursued going forward,” he added.
In conclusion he said, “this therefore brings me to the issue of Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO). I encourage NITDA to increase regulatory oversight over current DPCOs and carefully consider current pending applications in line with its published criteria and processes.”
Earlier, Director General, NITDA, Mr. Inuwa Abdullahi said, the the agency’s achievements on the implementation of the NDPR over the last 21 months stayed that the agency has achieved a lot.
“We have achieved significant milestones in the implementation of the NDPR. The publication of an annual report by data protection authorities is a global best practice. Aside from Mauritius that published its report in December, 2019, we are proud to say that Nigeria is the only African country that has published an annual report in Africa for the year 2020”
He enumerated achievements of the agency in the implementation of the NDPR as follows: “70 Data Protection Compliance Organisations, Licensed,
over 2,686 new jobs roles were created.
Inauguration of Data Breach Team in conjunction with the office of the Inspector General of Police. Data protection sector is currently valued at N2,295,240,000 (using the median value of audit implementation cost).
And that the, “Federal Government earned the sum of N12,650,000 from DPCO licensing and Audit report filing. With 230 compliance and enforcement notices were issued. 08 data breach cases initiated and deposited with the Police.”
Others are that over 790 issues were resolved. While the Lagos Internal Revenue Service breach was investigated, and fined and the issuance of Guidelines on Use of Personal Data by Public Institutions, 2020.”
In addition he said, “the NDPR Portal for filing of audit reports and reporting of breaches, launched. And the NDPR Implementation Framework 2020 issued.
And that, “in April 2020, NITDA was appointed as the Vice Chair of the African Union (Policy and Regulatory Initiative for Digital Africa- PRIDA) Working Group on Data Protection Harmonisation and Localisation.”
He also used the opportunity to speak on the challenges the agency is currently facing as a result of implementating the NDPR and that the staff of the agency are equal to the task, “We have also experienced a number of challenges, which we are working on daily to bring the best value to the digital economy sector. The main challenges to the NDPR implementation are- inadequate awareness, paucity of human and financial resources and bottleneck to data breach investigation and prosecution among others. These challenges notwithstanding, I dare say that NITDA staff have been highly innovative and professional in performing this herculean task.”
He also spoke on the proposed new Bill on Data Protection and promised the agency’s full support to the commission that the bill seeks to create.
“I wish to state that the NDPR has shown our capacity for innovativeness and developmental regulation. However, much more can still be done. I am happy that the new Bill on Data Protection is on its way to the National Assembly,” he said.
“NITDA is willing, able and ready to support the Commission with necessary capacity, advice and strategies to help it achieve its mandate.