Federal government supports digital economy and e-government bill

Federal government supports digital economy and e-government bill

The Minister of Communications Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, has said the National Digital Economy and e-Governance Bill currently before the National Assembly, if passed into law, will help transform the Nigerian economy and elevate it to a pedestal of global competitiveness.

The Guardian reports that the bill passed its first reading in the House of Commons on Monday.

The bill, introduced by Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Digital and Information Technology, Adedeji Olajide, aims to provide a legal framework for the development and regulation of digital economy and e-governance in Nigeria.

The Bill will ensure that digital documents are admissible and admissible in court, address issues of document originality, provide a digital framework for contracts and digital signatures, and ensure that consumers' rights are protected when purchasing goods online.

Speaking with media on the bill on Wednesday in the presence of Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity, Shuaibu Salisu, and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity, Stanley Adedeji, the Minister said the bill would support the growth and transformation of the Nigerian economy through the application and use of digital technologies in all aspects of life.

He noted that Nigeria’s digital economy sector is projected to benefit the Nigerian economy by about $18.3 billion, indicating the sector’s vital role for Nigeria, adding that the bill, currently on second reading, would enhance the capacity of the sector and attract more investments.

In his speech, he noted that the digital economy sector is the foundation of any economy.

He added that Nigeria is one of the top two destinations for capital and foreign direct investment on the African continent and that the bill will accelerate the development of Nigeria’s digital economy sector.

He said the text of the first-of-its-kind amendment bill would be made public by July 23, 2024, as part of efforts to raise awareness among state citizens about the bill's objectives and benefits.

The minister said: “We are committed to supporting this bill and we hope that this will be the first bill to be rolled out across the country. This bill has also been supported by the World Bank and therefore we must ensure that this bill reaches every state in Nigeria.”

He noted that Nigeria’s digital sector is home to a number of vibrant home-grown companies that are in the billion-dollar value category.

He further added that the vibrancy of these companies to not only generate billions of dollars but also create quality jobs is a testament to the thriving digital economy, which, if encouraged with legal frameworks, can further boost the economy.

“This bill has the potential to unlock opportunities and increase productivity in all sectors. A strong digital economy will drive development and progress, for example in the field of education. We can leverage technology to improve the education of our people and create jobs for our youth. This bill is important to all of our citizens and we want to give them the opportunity to consider it. We believe in this bill. This bill will create an enabling environment for fair competition to drive innovation, growth and competitiveness in the Nigerian economy.”

“Nigeria is the future of the world with a young population but we must strengthen our digital sector with more investments,” the minister added.

Also, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, said the project would facilitate the achievement of the goals set for Nigerians under the administration of President Bola Tinubu and realising Nigeria’s position as a major player in the global digital landscape.

Inuwa, speaking on behalf of NITDA Acting Director, Standards Guidance and Frameworks, Mr Emmanuel Edet, said: “The essence of this bill is to strengthen Nigeria's digital economy, particularly the government and the private sector. The ecosystem is booming and we need to harness the potential of this ecosystem to drive our economic aspirations based on our advantages in terms of capabilities and other facilities available.”

Source: guardian.ng

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