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Digital Trust: Nigeria should reflect global standards in digital transformation policies –NITDA

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA (middle, seated), in a Group Photograph with Other Participants During the British Standards Institution Workshop on Digital Policy, in Abuja, FCT       Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, stresses the need to build digital trust and implement international standards to support digitisation policies, fast-track transformation, and shape Nigeria’s digital future in the ecosystem

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has emphasised the need to build digital trust and implement international standards to support digitisation policies, fast-track transformation, and shape Nigeria’s digital future.

NITDA stated Inuwa gave this hint while speaking at a Digital Policy workshop, organised by the British Standards Institution (BSI), in Abuja, FCT.

The Director-General of the Information Technology (IT) sector regulatory agency harped  on the centrality of NITDA’s role in respect of standards in digital transformation.

The event is quite timely as it would deepen the collaboration between NITDA, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the British Government, invariably, helping in enhancing digital trust and adoption within Nigeria, stated Inuwa.

Presidential mandate to Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy and NITDA’s response

Inuwa also noted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mandated the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy by enhancing productivity in critical sectors through technological innovation.

According to NITDA Chief Executive, Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, subsequently, has unveiled the Ministry’s Strategic Plan, which contains five strategic pillars.

Highlighting the five strategic pillars, namely Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation (Entrepreneurship & Capital) and Trade, he affirmed that NITDA is equally crafting its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, which has eight strategic pillars.

In listing and explaining each pillar of the agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, Inuwa further disclosed  that the IT sector regulator is working assiduously to build digital trust across the board.

This effort, NITDA Director-General stated, is aimed at reawakening, as well as reposing confidence in the citizenry, who are expected to make use of digital services safely and responsibly.

He said: “To achieve that, we need to have standard and a guideline for building our services and digital offerings.

“This explains why part of the Ministry’s target set for NITDA 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.”

The challenges in Nigeria, especially in regard to e-commerce and online transactions may have, over the years, negatively impacted the dwindling trust but with the call for the adoption of international standards, there is hope that every transaction will be trusted in Nigeria, he asserted.

Inuwa added: “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.”

Objective of adopting standard and global best practices, by BSI Tram Lead

Earlier in his presentation, Dr. Nigel Croft, Team Lead of the British Standards Institution (BSI), applauded the collaboration.

Croft noted after the workshop, there would be training sessions for all critical stakeholders in the standards sector of the Nigeria.

The BSI Team Lead stated that the essence of the effort is to explore the adoption of a standard that can be in line with global best practices.

The workshop featured key presentations, including that of NITDA with the topic: “Key opportunities and challenges in Nigeria’s digitisation initiatives”.

Barr. Emmanuel Edet, Acting Director, Standard, Guidelines and Framework Department at NITDA, handled the presentation at the event.

Representatives of the British Standards Institution and Standards Organisation of Nigeria made other presentations at the forum.

NITDA as well said the event afforded participants the opportunity to brainstorm during the roundtable discussion segment, and shared experiences on the challenges to digitisation, opportunities for entering global value chains and transforming public services via international standards.

The agency related that the stakeholders were optimistic about the conclusions and recommendations reached at the end of the event, which would inform the next steps to take toward achieving the expected gains from the programme.

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