Data holds the key to economic prosperity and security – Pantami

According to Pantami, various data of citizens are being generated in the current digital economy, which is being driven by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT)...

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L-R: Prof. Abdullahi Bala, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUTM), Niger State; Prof. Femi Odekunle, Pro-Chancellor/Chairman, FUTM Council; Dr. Isa Pantami, Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy; and Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) during the Convocation Lecture.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has stated the key to greater economic prosperity and security lies in the effective management of public and private data.

The Minister stated this last week Friday while delivering 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.”

According to Pantami, various data of citizens are being generated in the current digital economy, which is being driven by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Thus, managing such data and making the economic data-driven holds great potential for the country’s economic prosperity and enhancement of security architecture.

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He believes that a digital economy has been widely accepted as the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. This he explained is in line with the new mandate of the Ministry in 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.

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“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 organisation, address cybersecurity and safety issues while transacting online.

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He said that digital society and emerging technologies support the 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 further added that “the academia and young innovative Nigerians such as those graduating have a key role to play in datafication to prosper the economy.”

The event was attended by many senior citizens, students, members of the academia and many development enthusiasts. Among these are Prof. Adeolu Akande, Board Chairman-designate, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC; Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Maimuna Abubakar, Board Chair, Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), members of NCC Board of Commissioners and many representatives of other agencies of government.

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