Digital Identity, Broadband Critical to Development of Nigeria’s Digital Economy – NITDA

By Hillary Asemota

The Director General, National Information Technogy Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, has said Digital Identity and Broadband are critical to the attainment of Nigeria’s Digital Economy.

According to him, setting the digital identity process on track will ensure effective implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) within the stipulated period.

Inuwa, said this while playing hosting for the Nigeria Digital ID4D Project Team at the agency’s corporate Headquarters Abuja on Tuesday.

He added that to achieve positive outcome in regard to Digital Economy, there is need for connectivity, and identify who consumes or provides the services and also you should be able to pay for the services.

The DG informed the team that NITDA’s mandate of developmental regulation is in line with what ID4D is actually working on while at the same time pledging the agency’s unalloyed support.

He acknowledged that collaboration between NITDA and ID4D as well as other relevant partners will always be welcomed with an open arm.

Inuwa, reiterated that government cannot do it alone, urging ID4D to help in whatever way they can for Nigeria to get this Digital Identity and implement it policies and mandate.

“Anything that has to do with identity, we need it to implement our mandate. Identity is key to Digital Economy. We believe we need each other to succeed, our mandates are interwoven, we need ID to succeed, and you also need us for the ID to be used in Digital Economy”, the DG said.

He also lauded what ID4D is doing, particularly on areas of Developmental Regulation, according to him, it will make impact on what NITDA is doing, adding that: “These Laws you are trying to help the government agencies to review, will equally help us.”

While expressing confidence that the Nigerian Digital space will soon compete with its peers globally, Inuwa, said: I “IT is dynamic, that is the reason why we are reenacting our own Bill that was passed in 2007; a lot of vocabularies are obsolete and things have changed, without that enactment, it will be difficult for us to deliver.

“We need to have a robust Law, because technology is growing and becoming dynamic, having a fixed law will be difficult to deliver, when the Technology evolves, the Law should be able to stretch and cover it”.

He also expressed concern with regulating the digital space, which he described as ungoverned space that needs to be regulated in the best way – a major challenge faced globally.

“The right regulation does not exist, we need to co-create it, because it is not something that you can learn from the previous generation, due to its non-existence during their time, it’s our collaboration that will bring the desired changes in developing the nations IT sector,” he noted.

Earlier in his address, the Coordinator Nigeria Digital ID4D Project, Mr. Musa Odole Solomon, appreciated NITDA’s stride in sanitising the Nigerian digital space.

“Since its establishment, NITDA has proven to be one of the Federal government institutions contributing immensely to the Nigerian economy through its various relevant regulations, monitoring, evaluation and verification in fostering the development and growth of the Information Technology sector in the country.

Solomon, said the ID4D Project objective is to increase the number of persons with a National Identity Number (NIN), issue a robust and inclusive foundational Identity system that facilitates their access to services.

He added that, “the project is designed following an ecosystem model, and not limited to any single organization, adding that it involves different agencies of government, private sector and civil society.

The project had since identified NITDA as an important ecosystem implementing partner, he added.

The Nigeria Digital ID4D is a five-year project, jointly funded by the World Bank, European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (FDA).

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