WorldStage Newsonline: Nigeria’s Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, said the market value of the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) in Nigeria has reached 5.5 billion naira.

Speaking at a press conference to mark the start of the Global Data Privacy Week 2023 on Saturday in Abuja, Pantami said: “Data is critical for the country and it is a global best practice, otherwise it will be difficult to attract so many interventions. and benefits for the country.

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

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.

The minister said the NDPB had so many benefits in having the law in place and an authority to implement it on behalf of the country.

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

“Today, it is a global good practice that must be in the law, 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.”

According to him, there is no way to establish a knowledge-based economy without data.

”The water, once stored, could be used at any time. Same with the data,” she said.

All of this, Pantami said, was the reason why the Ministry put forward the proposal to have a fully-fledged data protection institution and also primary data protection relationship legislation in Nigeria.

“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), was aimed at encouraging everyone to take responsibility for building a culture of privacy.

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

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

Nigeria is the first African country to celebrate International Data Privacy Day alongside developed countries.

The NDPB Bill was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for transmission to the National Assembly.