Tijani Harps On Benefits Of National Digital Economy Bill To Nigeria

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….Forecasts N18.3Bn Revenue From Digital Economy By 2026

The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, has said that the passage and final enactment of the National Digital Economy Bill now before the National Assembly has the potential of catalyzing Nigeria’s development, particularly in boosting the nation’s economic growth.

The minister, who made the remarks when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybersecurity and the House of Representatives Committee on Digital and Information Communication Technology, during the deliberations on the Bill, projected that the digitalization of the economy could generate up to N18.3 billion for the nation by 2026.

Describing the sector as “the backbone for any economy today and is a prerequisite for any prosperous nation,” the minister maintained that the Bill was long overdue as a legislative tool for properly and fully harnessing the potential of the sector in the country.

He clarified: “For those who follow the growth and trajectory of our economy in Nigeria, you should probably know that the ICT sector contributes about 13 to 18 per cent of GDP. In Q4 2023, the sector contributed about 16.6 per cent of GDP.

“The digital economy recorded about N5.49 billion in revenue in 2019. This sector is projected to generate up to N18.3 billion by 2026.

“Today, this Bill, which we are here to support, will also be the first bill to travel across the entire country. We have to ensure we take it to every state. It’s an important bill for all Nigerians, and we want to give them the opportunity to give us feedback.

“The bill will support the growth and transformation of Nigeria’s economy through the application and use of the digital economy in all facets of life in Nigeria.

“It will create an enabling environment for fair competition to promote innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the Nigerian economy”, Tijani added.

Speaking on the importance of the Bill, the Chairman of the House Committee on Digital and Information Communication Technology, Hon. Stanley Olajide, said that the Bill was a crucial legislation that had the potential to transform the nation’s digital economy and position it for sustainable development of the country.

The lawmaker said: “The Bill that has undergone its first reading in the National Assembly aims to provide a legal framework for the development and regulation of our digital economy.

“Furthermore, as we gather here today, I want to emphasize our commitment to an inclusive process in the development of this bill.

“It is going to be very inclusive. We recognize the importance of collaboration and stakeholders in ensuring legislation that reflects the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.

“This event marks the beginning of a series of engagements with various stakeholders and the general public.

“It is comprehensive legislation that seeks to establish a regulatory framework for the digital economy for digital literacy and skills development, enhance cyber security, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. It has the potential to unlock Nigeria’s digital potential and improve the lives of Nigerians”, he added.

In his contribution during the session, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, also explained that purpose of the draft legislation was to serve as an enabler to ensure that they were able to achieve the goals designed for Nigeria, especially under the present government.

Inuwa, who was represented by an Acting Director of the agency, Emmanuel Edem, said: “It is to enhance the use of the digital economy in the entire country, especially in government as well as in the private sector.

“As you may understand, the ecosystem is growing, and there is a need for us to harness the potential of this ecosystem in order to develop our economic desires based on the advantages we have in terms of population, capacity, and other facilities that are available.

“The bill basically tries to ensure that digital technologies are accommodated in our day-to-day lives and experiences”, the NITDA boss stressed.


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