By Etuka Sunday
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said, it has saved over N22.45billion for the Federal Government through Information Technology (IT) Clearance.
This was disclosed by the Agency, Monday in Abuja at a Press Conference as part of activities lined up for the celebration of its 20th Year Anniversary.
Recall, NITDA was established in April 2001, to be precise, on the 18th of April 2001, following the Federal Executive Council’s approval of the National Information Technology Policy in March 2001.
Consequently, the National Assembly passed into law the NITDA Act, 2007, which mandates the Agency to regulate, develop, and advise on Information Technology practices in Nigeria.
The agency also disclosed that with the release of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), it has created a new industry, stimulated new business models, and empowered thousands of Nigerians through capacity building and skills development.
It said, it “licensed 72 Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs), created over 2,686 new jobs roles in the industry, developed a new data protection sector valued at around 2.2 billion Naira”.
Speaking, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami noted that NITDA has played critical roles in national development by providing the legal framework for information technology development and pioneering IT developmental projects.
“Some of the major achievement of NITDA that I appreciate is the area of Information Technology project clearance. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is more about fighting corruption and this one of the strategic areas where corruption has been fought when it comes to IT project in Nigeria,” Pantami said.
He explained that the effective handling of a single IT project clearance by NITDA has saved Nigeria over N2billion.
“I know a situation where a project will be brought to NITDA, and after the clearance, NITDA will bring the price down by 30%, or there about. I know of a single project where NITDA through IT project clearance saved over N2billion for the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
The Minister said, another area NITDA deserves commendation was the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.
“This is a subsidiary legislation of the Federal Government of Nigeria which was approved in January 2019, to ensure data protection, Data privacy which is our constitutional right.
NITDA come up with a subsidiary legislation which we can say with all sense of humility is the first of its kind in Africa”
“With that humility, I can say Nigeria is not only the giant of Africa in terms of our GDP and population, but also in Data protection and Data Privacy. Many African countries are making reference to Nigeria Data protection in the process draft or enacting a law in regards to Data protection regulation,” he said.
Earlier, the Director General/CEO, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa said, there was no doubt that there are a lot of achievements recorded by the Agency since its establishment.
According to him,” these achievements include huge ICT contribution to GDP from less than 0.5% in 2001 to more than 14% in 2020, catalysing job creation and igniting innovative activities in the tech ecosystem.
“Likewise, we have achieved a lot in digital inclusion and literacy.
As a result, now we are witnessing the emergence of new economic sectors like Fintech, eCommerce, Venture Capital investment, Business Process Outsourcing, Data Protection Compliance Organisations, IT equipment manufacturing, and robust software industry.
“With this important milestone in carrying out our mandates, we think our 20th-anniversary worth celebrating,” he said.
Kashifu said, from inception to date, the Agency has deployed over one thousand, five hundred and sixty (1,560) Centres across the country, with a minimum of two Centres in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
He said, another critical area of focus for the Agency was Capacity Building, adding that so far, the Agency has impacted over 2.5 Million Nigerians directly and/or indirectly in multiple areas of IT throughits interventions and training.
The NITDA boss said, the Agency has also successfully investigated and issued data breach fines to many organisations, including public institution. More importantly, other countries are looking up to the Agency for guidance on Data Protection Regulation.
He disclosed that “the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS) replaced the National IT Policy.
Therefore, with the expiration of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap 2017 – 2020, we have developed a new Strategic Roadmap in line with NDEPS, which will be unveiled next week.”
Other dignitaries at the event are: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Festus Yusuf-Daudu, Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umbar Danbatta, the Post Master General of NIPOST, Adebayo Adewusi, MD, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, MD, NigComsat, Abimbola Alale, DG, NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, amongst others.