FG directs NITDA, NCC to establish national cyber security research centre

From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The federal government has asked the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to come up with the National Cyber Security Research Centre in Nigeria.

This is as it inaugurated the Digital Economy Industry Working Group (DEIWG) to serve as an action group and Public Private Dialogue (PPD) platform to be formed by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami said the centre when completed would actively support the Nigerian participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is the ICT.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Digital Nigeria International Conference in Abuja, where the group was inaugurated, he said it would be saddled with the responsibility of mapping out government initiatives and policies that are affecting the private sector pertaining to the Digital Economy.

He maintained that the group will harmonise and harness the work done by both the FMoCDE and the NESG to unlock the potential of a fully Digital Economy and deliver benefits to the public, private and social enterprise sectors, with a view to supporting the delivery of the short, medium and long-term ministerial strategy for driving the growth of the Digital Industry in Nigeria.

The objectives of the group include; to establish a Public-Private Partnership Platform as communication link between the public and private sector to drive the Digital Economy Policies and Strategies; to create a framework for strengthening the immediate delivery of initiatives based on the 8 pillars as outlined in the Nigerian Digital Economic Policy and Strategy (2020-2030); to facilitate the creation of an Enterprise Programs Management Office (EPMO) and funding mechanism which will serve as a framework of funding for DEIWG Secretariat and to formulate, in partnership with the government, mechanisms that drive and catalyse growth and increase investments in the Digital Economy.

Other objectives of the group are: to examine the current efforts by the Federal Government to digitally transform through policies, projects and programmes and co-create a private sector response plan; to facilitate a leadership mindset that is digital-driven for shared prosperity and shared national vision and drive continuity of the policies to enhance the institutional arrangement that drives the Digital Economy and to call to action on the private sector to take the lead of the creation of the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

Highlighting the composition of the group, the minister noted that it comprises government representatives, the private sector and the academia adding that it is a model the ministry has adopted in the last three years.

“We don’t formulate policies alone, we ensure that we bring together all stakeholders to work with us as part of the implementation model, we try to interact with other people from different sectors, this is what we are promoting,” he said.

The Minister also revealed that the ministry would soon present the Nigeria Data Protection Bill to the Federal Executive Council. According to him, the bill has been forwarded to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation for review and to give go-ahead for its presentation to the council.

He said the bill will ensure the confidentiality and privacy of Nigerians’ data when it comes to dealing with data and citizens’ information.

Earlier in his remarks, the NITDA’s Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, said the government had reviewed the potentials availed in the country and had learned from the global community what is happening in other countries and regions and understood that all these prosperity and wealth are not evenly distributed.

He stated this against the backdrop that the 2022 Digital Nigeria International Conference has not come to end and urged the participants to continue with the momentum. “We want to keep the tempo until the end of November when President Muhammadu Buhari will officially close the digital Nigeria 2022 ceremony,” he urged.

While acknowledging that this year’s conference is very massive, he reiterated that there is a lot to learn from it. He noted that the government is a listening government and ready to work with the tech ecosystem to make Nigeria the most vibrant ecosystem in the world.

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