Digital technology is rapidly transforming the global economic landscape, daily lives as well as the way businesses are conducted. In Nigeria, the digital economy is fast becoming a key priority as the country makes strides to harness data and new technologies to strengthen its digital space.
I, recently, had a chat with Kachifu Inuwa, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Tech Trends show on Channels Television.
He revealed the agency’s moves to drive digital inclusion, and policies that regulate information technology practices in Nigeria.
CFA: In what ways is the agency trying to deepen technology across the country and what possible policies can be adopted in the Nigerian ecosystem.
D.G: We started the inter-agency committee. We’ve had it for the past two years looking around it to find the best regulation of digital access. We don’t want to rush into this kind of innovation because of the way it operates.
The people in that space always try to hack the regulation. So, we don’t want to seem like we’re trying to stop them from doing what they’re doing. We want to work with them, allow them to develop a use case.
Then we’ll look at the use case to know under whose mandate it falls. If it’s under the financial, that is, CBN regulate, or the general technology which NITDA regulates. So that’s what we’re trying to achieve with the strategic adoption.
We don’t want to just say ‘don’t use this, don’t use that or you must use it this way. If we do that, it means we’re stifling innovation.
We want to work with them, let them innovate, let them come up with a use case, create service and then we’ll look at it to determine who would be the best to regulate it to safeguard consumers as well as the service provider.
This is because, at NITDA, we see regulation as a way of protecting consumers as well as the provider. If we don’t have regulations, one would cheat the other. So, we don’t want to use regulation to stop them from coming up with innovative ideas.
CFA: Okay. D.G, I know you mentioned a bit about startups and some of the schemes you’re created for startups. Since one of the biggest challenges is that of funding, is there a strategy around that to make sure that the environment is more startup-friendly?
D.G: We have so many initiatives we’re working on. One of them is with MIT under one of their initiatives, REAP which stands for Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme.
It’s a global capstone initiative designed to help regions accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship as well as promote social progress.
You can watch the full interview here.