The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has revealed that the market value of the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) in the Nigerian digital economy sector has reached 5.5 billion naira.

Pantami made this known during a press conference to mark the start of the Global Data Privacy Week 2023 on Saturday in Abuja.

The annual Data Privacy Day is themed: “Think Privacy First.”

The minister highlighted the critical value of the data for the country, adding that it is a global best practice, which will allow bringing as many interventions and benefits to the country.

He said that data privacy was not just an enabling law, but a constitutional right as long as citizens were innocent and abiding by the law.

He noted that the NDPB had so many benefits in having the law in place and an authority to implement it on behalf of the country.

“The NDPB has created many jobs that are currently worth 5.5 billion naira.

“Today it is a global good practice that you must have the law in place, otherwise you will find it difficult to attract so many interventions and benefits to your country.

“Even potential investors these days ask whether you have a data protection law that covers their country or not.

“If you don’t have any data protection law in place, they feel uncomfortable coming to your country to invest because today data is critical.

“Usually we say that data is the new oil, but sometimes I even argue that data is water because water is a necessity for survival and data is a necessity for the survival of the knowledge-based economy.

“There is no way you can establish a knowledge-based economy without data. The water, once stored, could be used at any time. Same thing with the data,” he said.

He explained that the Ministry came up with the proposal to have a fully-fledged data protection institution and also the main data protection relationship legislation in Nigeria due to the critical nature of data to the economy in the digital sector.

“The law on data protection is in no way to punish our citizens, but to raise awareness for all of us to be data compliant.

“That’s why it’s important. We are being urged to comply, and today, due to awareness raising, contact with other institutions, sanctions and questioning of others, you will find that the rate of compliance is increasing,” Pantami said.

NDPB National Commissioner Dr. Vincent Olatunji said the aim of privacy week was to raise awareness and disseminate privacy practices and principles throughout society.

Olatunji said the Commission, born out of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), should encourage everyone to take responsibility for building a culture of privacy.

“It is a Day that has been set aside to raise awareness of the fundamental rights and freedoms related to the privacy of citizens in the data processing ecosystem.

“To date, we have sensitized more than 50 Ministry Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Now we have a circular that everyone must comply with the provisions of the law, ”he said.