Experts and key players in the Nigerian technology ecosystem have emphasised the need for government’s interventions in creating the right atmosphere for technology to thrive, especially, through common sense regulations that do not stifle innovation.
They also called for deliberate actions and strategies to ensure that the benefits of technology and digital transformation do not leave anyone behind.
The experts, who spoke at a panel session on ‘the Impact of Emerging Technologies and Digital Transformation on the Nigerian Business and Legal Environment’ at the 17th Annual Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) in Lagos, said, technology remains the enabler for developing other critical sectors of the economy and so should be leveraged for optimal benefits.
Speaking at the session moderated by Partner at the law firm of Johnson and Wilner LLP, Rotimi Ogunyemi, the panellists, who recognised technology as a means for social and economic development, shed light on some salient issues around digital technology from a social, business and regulatory standpoint.
Among the issues highlighted include; the cost of digital transformation and the need to close the digital gap between the haves and the have-nots, develop the relevant infrastructure that supports digital transformation in Nigeria, as well as build the nexus between technology and government’s role in society.
The panellists included assistant director and head of Legal Services at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Emmanuel Edet; Co-Founder of Helium Health, Bolatito Ovia; Head of Android Partnerships at West Africa Google, Ngozi Madueke-Dozie; Divisional Head of Transactional Banking at First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Rolayo Akhigbe; and Founder of Tech Lawyered, Kelechi Achinonu, who joined virtually.
The panellists also gave insight into the time value in tech and the feasibility (or otherwise) of removing middle players in payment transactions; the role of digital tech in healthcare delivery and the need to return to basics with regard to competence in personnel (investing in the people who manage the relevant technology); and the tension between the need to use tech more effectively and the equally vital need to ‘save’ human jobs from being taken over by tech.
While urging government’s (and especially NITDA’s) interventions in leveraging technology to deliver services and addressing technological drawbacks with common sense regulations that do not stifle innovation, they called for constant engagement between tech companies and both regulators and market players in order to arrive at such regulations that elevate the industry.
According to the panellists, market players also need to be conversant with tech-related regulations not just in Nigeria but in jurisdictions across the globe.