Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, on Friday said that the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) is a tool for fostering developmental regulation and ensuring digital economy.
Pantami said this at the Public Presentation of the NDPR Performance Report, 2019-2020, by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja.
The NDPR, established on January 25, 2019, is designed to ensure the protection, prevent manipulation of personal data, ensure Nigerian businesses were competitive in the international space by safeguarding data through a legal regulatory framework, among others.
Pantami explained that NDPR was formulated as a subsidiary legislation crafted to match all the foundation principles of data protection in line with global practices.
The minister also said that the regulation is an implementation tool for the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
“The first pillar of the NDEPS is Developmental Regulation and the NDPR gives confidence to citizens that their data is safe as long as they are innocent,’’ he said.
According to him, the integrity of the digital economy relies on protection of data and the NDPR supports the development of digital economy.
He further said that the developmental regulation pillar of NDEPS facilitates the enactment of appropriate legislation that ensures protection of digital technology infrastructure.
“It enhances national security, supports issuance of converged regulations, and addresses multiple taxation for health business environment.’’
He commended achievements through the NDPR, adding that it had created 2,686 jobs for Data Protection Officers, and generated more than N2 billion in the first year of implementation.
Pantami added that 42 African countries out of 53 who had formulated their data protection laws, made reference to the NDPR, hence recognising Nigeria as the giant in Africa.
He, however, commended NITDA on the report and urged them to circulate same to the National Assembly, embassies, international agencies, government agencies, private sector players, the academia, other stakeholders for better implementation.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of NITDA, said the concept of launching the NDPR in 2019 is beyond protection of personal data.
Inuwa said it is helping the country diversify to digital economy and also in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda on lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
He mentioned that the regulation created jobs and licenses 70 Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCOs).
“With the NDPR, NITDA was appointed as the Vice Chair of the African Union on Policy and Regulatory Initiative for Digital Africa.
Mr Tunde Balogun, Convener, Association of DPCOs, urged NITDA to focus on enforcement of the regulation and leave its operationalisation to DPCOs.
Dr Saidu Abubakar, Chairman, NITDA Governing Board, said that good achievements such as the impact of the NDPR should be projected more.
Abubakar added that such achievements are improving the socio-economic development of citizens and the nation.