NITDA Bill 2021 will help Nigeria reap the benefits of the global digital economy – Editor

Managing Editor of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential, Mr. Abdulrahman Abdulraheem, has explained why the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari must swiftly approve and pass the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA Bill 2021.

According to him, once the bill becomes law, the NITDA 2021 Act will catalyze the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy.

“It will also provide a proper legal framework for Nigeria to harness the potential of the global digital economy,” he said.

Abdulraheem revealed this in a paper titled “Global Reality and Digital Inclusion – NITDA Bill 2021 in Focus”, which he presented at a “Fact-Checking and Digital Journalism Workshop” in Lagos State on Monday.

The workshop, organized by NITDA in collaboration with the Nigerian Journalism Union, was facilitated by Image Merchants Promotion Ltd, the publishers of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential.

The theme of the workshop: “Digital News Verification Imperative for the 2023 Elections” was attended by journalists from various TV, radio, newspaper and online media platforms as participants.

Despite the rapid growth of Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, Abdulraheem noted that the digital economy presents a number of unique challenges and opportunities that may not be adequately addressed by existing regulatory frameworks.

He said: “For example, the rapid pace of technological change in the digital economy may require NITDA to be more flexible and responsive in its regulatory approach.”

Mr. Abdulraheem argued that “amending the law establishing NITDA to allow the agency to effectively regulate Nigeria’s digital economy would help ensure that the agency has the necessary powers and resources to carry out this important function”.

His words: “This could include, for example, the authority to set standards and guidelines specifically tailored to the needs of the digital economy, or the ability to investigate and apply sanctions for non-compliance.”

Speaking about the alleged break or overlap of functions between NITDA and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Abdulraheem argued that the NITDA 2021 Bill does not infringe on the independence of the NCC in any way.

He added that it is global good practice for the two agencies to work independently and perform their respective regulatory functions, adding that the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia have agencies that perform the functions of NITDA and NCC without any conflict.

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the main telecommunications regulatory body in the US, while the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is responsible for developing standards and guidelines for the use of IT in the country. “, he pointed.

Before Mal. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General of NITDA, who was represented by Haj. Hadiza Umar, the agency’s spokesperson, reaffirmed NITDA’s commitment to expanding the digital space, developing the human capital of journalists, and promoting strong digital journalism, serving the nation’s best and broadest interests. .

“There is no mistaking the fact that we are in the digital age where now everything is based on computers and the Internet.

“We are therefore interested in our journalists taking advantage of the digital tools available to do their job better and better serve the country,” he said.

Inuwa noted that learning to do fact checks will help media professionals carry out due diligence on any information that comes their way, while also stemming the tide of fake news.

Speaking at the event, NUJ National President Chris Isiguzo called for the adoption of the ‘Global Ethics Charter for Journalists’ by media professionals in the country.

Before the 2023 elections and the proliferation of fake news, Isiguzo said that although experts believe that fake news is one of the biggest threats to democracy, free debate and good governance, it is journalism or information that deliberately misleads people and misrepresents reality by spreading false information, hoaxes, propaganda, or misrepresentation of facts

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