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ABC hopeful data protection bill will boost innovation, grow GDP

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
02 December 2022   |   3:06 am
As the bill for data protection awaits public hearing on the floor of the National Assembly, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Business Council (ABC), Margaret Olele has said the bill, if signed into law...

As the bill for data protection awaits public hearing on the floor of the National Assembly, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Business Council (ABC), Margaret Olele has said the bill, if signed into law, will foster innovation and energise Nigeria’s economic growth.

Olele said this yesterday in Abuja, during a workshop on cross-border data flows and the impacts to the Nigerian economy, organised by the council in collaboration with Microsoft.

She said that the bill is very imperative and timely, as it will create a fertile environment for innovations to thrive, and potentially put an environment that can improve economic growth of the country.

“We have been discussing and collaborating with different stakeholders to ensure that we have a bill that is not just very important for an issue regarding data but also that is best fit for the country, drives economic growth and encourages foreign investments into the country as well,” Olele said.

Also speaking, Microsoft’s Director of Corporate External and Legal Affairs, Africa Regional Cluster, John Edokpolo said the workshop was very significant for any nation that is looking to digitally transform its economy like Nigeria.

He said: “It is good to build trust in the digital ecosystem. One of the ways to build trust is to make sure that you have the enabling regulatory framework to ensure that when people adopt technology, they use it for their businesses and are responsible in the way that they collect data and how they use it. It is also important for citizens to have the confidence that the government is interested in protecting their data”.

According to him, the bill, when passed to law, will not stifle innovation but will create cross-border data flows and create economic development for the country.

“I think it’s commendable that the government is having this bill put in place so that companies that collect citizens data will make use of the data very responsibly.”

He therefore urged the National Assembly to give the bill a timely consideration, maintaining that the bill if passed will attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the country.