The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has called for effective usage of public, private data, saying it holds great potential for Nigeria’s economic prosperity and enhancement of security.
The minister, who delivered the 29th convocation lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, with the title “Datafication of Society: Economic and Security Issues in Producing and Using Public and Private Data in Nigeria,” explained that, as various data of citizens are being generated in the current digital economy being driven by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), managing such data and making the economy data-driven holds great potential for the country’s economic prosperity. “Datafication of objects or data transforms their purpose and turns the information into new forms of value,” he said.
He affirmed that a digital economy has been widely accepted as the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. This explained why, the new mandate of the Ministry is the development of the economy, leveraging technology, in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government.
Pantami enumerated the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) recently unveiled by President Muhammad Buhari to include developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services development and promotion, soft infrastructure, digital society and emerging technologies, as well as indigenous content promotion and adoption. He contended that Nigeria is moving into an era where the wealth of the nation will be measured by digital resources and the innovation of Nigerians.
“So, the NDEPS has a very strong data theme and datafication is an important aspect of the implementation across all the eight pillars. Data is critical to the success of the digital economy and scholars now refer to data as the new oil as data drives the digital economy and the digital economy drives the growth of the traditional economy,” the Minister said.
Pantami particularly explained that the 6th item of NDEPS – the soft infrastructure – will address the issue of data management in public and private sector organisations, address cybersecurity and safety issues while transacting online.
He said that digital society and emerging technologies support development of high-level skills that will enhance the aptitude of Nigerians to use public data and anonymised private data for social good, towards creating wealth from data.
The minister added that, “the academia and young innovative Nigerians such as those graduating have a key role to play in datafication to prosper the economy.”