In an effort to expedite the process of transformation and shape Nigeria’s digital future, Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), emphasized the crucial importance of establishing digital trust and adhering to international standards to support digitization policies.
This declaration was made during Inuwa’s address at a Digital Policy workshop organized by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in Abuja. Emphasizing NITDA’s pivotal role in setting standards for digital transformation, Inuwa highlighted the timeliness of the event, anticipating that it would strengthen collaboration between NITDA, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and the British Government. This collaboration, he noted, would contribute significantly to the advancement of digital trust and adoption within Nigeria.
Inuwa underscored that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had mandated the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy through increased productivity in key sectors via technological innovation. He further mentioned that Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, subsequently unveiled the Ministry’s strategic plan, comprising five pillars: Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation (Entrepreneurship & Capital), and Trade.
Expanding on NITDA’s approach, Inuwa detailed the Agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, consisting of eight strategic pillars. He elucidated on each pillar, emphasizing NITDA’s diligent efforts to foster digital trust across various domains. The overarching goal is to rekindle and instill confidence in the citizenry, encouraging them to utilize digital services safely and responsibly.
“To achieve that, we need to have standard and a guideline for building our services and digital offering, and that explains why as part of the Ministry’s target set for NITDA, which was to develop standard for the Nigerian Digital Public Infrastructure, we need international collaboration to get the job done”.
“We also need to build a system that can scale beyond Nigeria where our solutions would be indigenous but have global market value”, Inuwa said.
Inuwa noted that challenges in Nigeria, particularly in the realms of e-commerce and online transactions, have likely contributed to a decline in trust over the years. However, he expressed optimism that the advocacy for the adoption of international standards holds the promise of restoring trust in every transaction conducted within Nigeria.
The DG concluded by stating that, “With digital trust in place, the plan is to have automated transactions and electronically generated invoice afterwards, this and more are possible but it is not something to be done at a local level, hence, partnering key players like the SON and international bodies like the BSI”.
“We look forward to building a stronger and mutually productive relationship as well as be a part of the global ecosystem”.
In the initial proceedings, Dr. Nigel Croft, the Team Lead at the British Standards Institution (BSI), extended a warm welcome to guests and commended the collaborative effort. He highlighted that post-workshop, comprehensive training sessions for all pivotal stakeholders in Nigeria’s standards sector would be conducted. The primary objective is to explore the adoption of a standard aligning with global best practices.
The workshop encompassed significant presentations, notably from NITDA, featuring a discourse titled “Key opportunities and challenges in Nigeria’s digitization initiatives.” This presentation was skillfully delivered by Barr Emmanuel Edet, the Acting Director of the Standard, Guidelines, and Framework Department at NITDA. Additional presentations were made by representatives from the British Standards Institution and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria.
The event facilitated an interactive round table discussion segment, providing participants with a platform to share insights on challenges related to digitization, explore opportunities for integration into global value chains, and discuss the transformation of public services through adherence to international standards.
Stakeholders expressed optimism that the conclusions and recommendations derived from the event would serve as valuable insights, guiding the subsequent steps towards realizing the anticipated benefits.