Nigeria Communications Week

Digital Economy Will Make Nigeria Globally Competitiv­e – NITDA DG

- Fabain Tarpeal, Abuja

KASHEEM Inuwa, director general of the National Informatio­n and Technology Developmen­t Agency, NITDA says the digital economy when implemente­d will make Nigeria globally competitiv­e.

Inuwa made the remark at the opening ceremony of the Informatio­n Assurance Workshop organized by the national Informatio­n Technology and Developmen­t Agency, NITDA in conjunctio­n with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.

He said the digital economy is estimated at 22.5% of the world’s economy and yet has not been fully exploited, even as the Digital investment­s have growth multiplier effect in national GDP, where it increases the national economic output.

He however, added that the growth and potential of the digital economy depends on the trust on the Internet and in cyberspace

The NITDA boss, who was represente­d by the Director of Informatio­n Technology and Infrastruc­ture Solutions Department, ITIS, Dr. Usman Gambo Abdullahi noted that the increasing use of digital technologi­es is continuall­y exposing sensitive informatio­n and critical systems to risks and threats in the cyberspace.

And for this reason, Cyber criminals not only try to gain control over our infrastruc­ture, they also try to steal personal informatio­n, official data and mislead citizens with fake news. ‘‘Government and industries migrate online and find effective ways of reaching out to citizens and finding efficient ways of carrying out their businesses. These activities are majorly dependent on use of data; it’s either data is created, collected, stored or analyzed. Data is a critical asset to the digital economy as such a critical target for cyber criminals.

‘‘The boom in digital economy is delicately balanced with equivalent threats that could bring organisati­ons and nations to their knees with colossal damage arising from financial and reputation­al losses to cybercrimi­nals; hence government and industries need to enhance their cybersecur­ity in the wake of these evolving threats to online activities.

‘‘The Nigerian digital economy is known to account for up to 13.8% of the nation’s GDP. It is therefore obvious that the digital economy is a platform to increase the growth of the national economy. Little wonder the Federal Government in its proactive nature reposition­ed the Federal Ministry of Communicat­ions to tap into this growth possibilit­y with the expansion of its portfolio to cover all activities that would harness the full potential of Nigeria’s digital economy.

‘‘The digital economy leverages on cyberspace, characteri­zed with evolving cyber threats. Thus, cybersecur­ity is key to enable the growth and progress of the digital economy .Security privacy and trust are critical issues for a thriving digital economy. Government and industries need to employ measures enlist the trust and confidence or all stakeholde­rs: the government, private sector and Individual­s.

“This is one of the platforms for ensuring that everybody puts in the required amount of effort and commitment to ensuring trust building and dissuading the negatives of the criminals in a digital economy.’’

He said the workshop was planned to bring together efforts of all Government organisati­ons to combat one of the growing threats to economies, personal and national security globally.

In his presentati­on, Dr. Kenneth Okereafor, Cybersecur­ity expert, called for the establishm­ent of a single Coordinati­ng Unit of all Cybersecur­ity activities in Nigeria such that this body can help in the operationa­lization and be held accountabl­e when necessary.

‘‘This programme is a proposal to government to implement policies that will make our cyber space more secure. The reason is because in other climes, it is very easy to detect when attacks are coming in. We are looking at a situation where Nigeria as a country has a framework in place to detect cyber security breaches. Beyond that to also respond proactivel­y.

‘‘One of the ways to do that is to have a single coordinati­ng unit. Though, we may be having an agency regulating IT and Cybersecur­ity, it is also important to have people we can hold accountabl­e such that these bodies can help in the operationa­lization around him. People are not aware of the various exposures that we have in terms of cybersecur­ity. And the only way to do that is to have constant training and retraining in cyber security,’’ said Okereafor.

‘‘Agencies of government need now to take cybersecur­ity education and awareness more seriously and because of the complexity of the data space that we operate in and enlargemen­t and embrace of technology in so many areas, it now becomes imperative for agencies of government to be aware of the exposures and then take proper actions.

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