ICT/E-Governance Bill: Minister of Digital Economy projected to generate N18.3b by 2026.

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By Joy Odor

The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijaniv on Tuesday informed that the digital economy sector is projected to generate up to N18.3 billion by 2026, saying a prerequisite for any prosperous nation.

The Minister disclosed this at a press briefing on the National Digital Economy and e-Governance Bill in Abuja organised by the Senate Committee on Information and Communication Technology, (ICT), and Cybersecurity and the House of Representatives Committee on Digital and Information Communication Technology.

“For those who follow the growth and trajectory of our economy in Nigeria, you should probably know that the ICT sector contributes about 13 to 18 percent of GDP. In Q4 2023, the sector contributed about 16.6 percent, GDP.

“The digital economy recorded about N5.49 billion in revenue in 2019. This sector is being projected to generate up to N18.3 billion by 2026.

“Nigeria is one of the top two destinations for capital foreign direct investment to technology staff in Africa. Last year we recorded about 2 billion dollars in FDI to tech startups.

“It will create jobs. The sector is extremely special and unique because of its capacity to unlock opportunities and raise productivity in every sector. If the digital economy is strong, it will catalyse development in every other sector.

“The Bill, he said, was long overdue to properly and fully harness potential of the sector in the country.

“The bill we are here today is a bill that will accelerate the progress in our digital economy. There is no clear legislation that is pushing competition and ensuring development in that digital space.

“Today this bill which we are here to support, our hope is also that it will also be the first bill that would travel across the entire country. We have to ensure we take it to every state. It’s an important bill for all Nigerians and we want to give them the opportunity to give us feedback.

“The bill will support the growth and transformation of Nigeria’s economy through the application and use of the digital economy in all facets of life in Nigeria.

“It will create the enabling environment for fair competition to promote innovation, growth and competitiveness of the Nigerian economy,” he said.

In his remark, the Chairman, House Committee on Digital and Information Communication Technology, Rep Stanley Olajide affirmed that it is crucial legislation that has the potential to transform the nation’s digital economy and position it for sustainable development in Nigeria.

“The bill which has undergone first reading in the National Assembly aims to provide a legal framework for the development and regulation of our digital economy. Furthermore as we gather here today, I want to emphasise our commitment to an inclusive process in the development of this bill.

“It is going to be very inclusive. We recognise the importance of collaboration and stakeholders in ensuring legislation that reflects the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.

“This event marks the beginning of a series of engagements with various stakeholders and the general public.

“It is comprehensive legislation that seeks to establish a regulatory framework for the digital economy for digital literacy and skills development, enhanced cyber security and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. It has the potential to unlock Nigeria’s digital potential and improve the lives of Nigerians” he said.

In his address, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity, Senator Shuaib Afolabi Salisu, said the Bill is important as it is the first attempt to put an omnibus legislation to cater to online activities.

He said it  would revolutionise the economy and also unleash the full potential of the ICT sector.

“ICT is not just a sector like other sectors. It is a sector that without it other sectors cannot function. This Bill was introduced in the senate less than a week ago. We are engaging the media first because the media is critical to the success bill.

“We don’t want this bill to be misunderstood. We want you to have an understanding of what this Bill seeks to do. This Bill is not about levies, it’s not about commission but creating an environment for the digital economy to thrive and we cannot do that without the partnership of the media,” he said.

Also, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, also stated that the essence is to serve as an enabler to ensure that they are able to achieve the goals designed for Nigeria especially under the present Government.

Represented by an Acting Director, Emmanuel Elder, he said, “It is to enhance use of digital economy in the entire country, especially in Government as well as in the private sector.

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