By Nwakaego Alajeemba
Implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 setting the tone for Africa’s burgeoning data protection industry and IT procurement clearance in the public sector for all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), which has saved the federal government over N22.45 billion are top on the list of achievements for the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as it turned 20 this week.
I can say that Nigeria is the giant of Africa not only in our GDP or population [but] in data protection and data privacy” – Pantami
For the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami and Director General/CEO, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, including other stakeholders speaking at the ‘NITDA at 20 Anniversary Press Conference’ with the theme ‘Growth and Resilience,’ the NDPR and IT clearance are merely two in a long list of achievement by Nigeria’ IT regulatory agency that have greatly impacted on the economy across sectors.
According to Pantami , NITDA was already being referenced as setting the pace in continent’s emerging data protection, privacy industry. His words: “Nigeria Data Protection Regulation is another area where NITDA deserves commendation; this is 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 came up with a subsidiary legislation which with all sense of humility we can say it is the first of its kind in Africa, with that humility, I can say that Nigeria is the giant of Africa not only in our GDP or population, including in data protection and data privacy.”
“The agency has also successfully investigated and issued data breach fines to many organisations, including public institution” – Abdullahi
The NDPR is Nigeria’s principal legislation on data protection, privacy. Since it became operational, it has become obligatory for statutory organizations to make annual filing on their data privacy status.
“With the release of the NDPR, NITDA has created a new industry, stimulated new business models, and empowered thousands of Nigerians through capacity building and skills development. We 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 N2.2 billion,” said Mallam Abdullahi to further affirm the minister’s statement.
“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 added.
The NITDA’s boss particularly noted the strategic impact of IT procurement clearance to ensuring greater transparency in MDAs and the savings it has brought to government even as he commended Dr Pantami for pioneering the struggle to ensure compliance to IT clearance in the public sector.
Hs words: “The enforcement of the IT Clearance Process of NITDA started in December 2016. In addition to the value addition to IT project delivery, the IT Clearance has saved over 22.45 billion Naira for the Federal Government.”