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NITDA to re-enact Act 2007, alerts stakeholders

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Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head of NITDA Cooperate Affairs and External Relations


The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has drawn the attention of relevant stakeholders to the commencement of the process of repealing and re-enacting the NITDA Act (2007).
  
NITDA said the need to repeal the existing Act became necessary with the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), which effectively replaced the Nigerian National IT Policy, 2000.
   
The agency recalled that the vision of the National IT Policy was to make Nigeria an IT-capable country by 2005. “We can all attest that Nigeria has gone beyond the vision of using IT but aiming to become the digital economy capital of Africa.”
   
Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, NITDA, Hadiza Umar, said since the enactment of the NITDA Act 2007, it has operated as the catalytic government agency for developing and regulating the information technology sector.
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However, Umar, in a statement, said in the light of recent advancements in information technology and the shift in the global economy paradigm, the NDEPS was envisioned to “transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy, providing quality life and digital economies for all.”
  
She said the current reality had necessitated the re-imagination for the establishment of NITDA. It is a known fact that digital technologies have created new forms of economic activities that have been beneficial to the global economy.
  
However, Umar said these digital technologies comes with their promises and perils such as cybercrimes, privacy invasion and other social problems.
   
This, according to her, necessitated the need to proactively manage their adoption through the development of a stakeholder-led robust regulatory architecture to enable Nigeria to maximise the benefits of such technologies and mitigate the negative consequences.
   
“Therefore, the need for a more agile and practical approach to regulations, standards-setting, and guidelines development for the country, with a focus on digital and emerging technologies, cannot be overemphasised.
 
 “Based on the foregoing, we identified the need to update NITDA’s legal framework for regulating and developing a digital economy for Nigeria. The agency’s current establishment law is outdated. It cannot meet the needs and requirements for supporting a digital economy as well as effectively protect the rights and interests of stakeholders in the digital world,” she stated.
   
The NITDA Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, said the review of the NITDA Act 2007 aimed to address contemporary digital issues, revamp Nigeria’s economy, build trust and protect the rights and interests of players in the ecosystem.
   
She further said the review of the NITDA Act 2007 would serve as an enabler for the growth and development of Nigeria’s digital economy.
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According to her, Some of the highlights of the repeal include the following, amongst others, creating a framework for promoting the startup ecosystem; promoting indigenous products and services through standardisation; collaborating with the requisite public and private sector partners to carry out activities that will assist in electronic waste disposal; fostering collaboration to facilitate the implementation of robust cybersecurity measures aimed at building trust in Nigeria’s digital economy; facilitating capacity building through the digital literacy and skills initiative.
   
Others are entrenching stakeholder participation in developing regulations through the rule-making process; and promoting the safe use of digital technologies, including social media, for the attainment of national objectives.
   
Hadiza, which disclosed that the bill will be presented to the National Assembly as an Executive Bill, explained the process to include that the agency initiated the process by sending the initial draft to its supervisory Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, for policy review the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy perform the policy review; upon completion of the policy review, the

Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy conveys the initial draft Bill to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Office for legal drafting and statutory review; the Attorney-General of the Federation and
Minister of Justice Office will revert with their legal opinion to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; NITDA will engage all IT stakeholders in line with the Rulemaking Process of the Agency NITDA will send the updated draft Bill to its supervisory Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; the Bill will be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and upon approval, the President will transmit the Bill to the National Assembly for the enactment process, which will include public hearings and more stakeholder engagements; and upon passage by the National Assembly, it will be transmitted to the President for assent.

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Hadiza UmarNITDA
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