The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa,in a bid to fast track transformation and shape the digital future of Nigeria,has harped on the need to build digital trust and implement international standards to support digitisation policies.
Inuwa disclosed this while speaking at a Digital Policy workshop, organised by the British Standards Institution (BSI), held in Abuja.
The DG who restated the centrality of NITDA’s role as regards standard in digital transformation, noted that the event is quite timely as it would deepen the collaboration between the Agency, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the British Government, invariably, helping in enhancing digital trust and adoption within Nigeria.
Inuwa while stressing that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu mandated the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy by enhancing productivity in critical sectors through technological innovation, said that the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani had as a follow up, unveiled the Ministry’s strategic plan which has five strategic pillars.
Expatriating on the five strategic pillars, namely Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation (Entreprenuership & Capital) and Trade, Inuwa affirmed that NITDA on its part was crafting the Agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan which has eight strategic pillars.
While listing and explaining each pillar, the NITDA Boss maintained that the Agency is working assiduously to build digital trust across boards, in order to reawaken as well as repose confidence in the citizenry who are expected to make use of digital services safely and responsibly.
“To achieve that, we need to have standard and a guideline for building our services and digital offering, and that explains why as part of the Ministry’s target set for NITDA, which was to develop standard for the Nigerian Digital Public Infrastructure, we need international collaboration to get the job done”.
“We also need to build a system that can scale beyond Nigeria where our solutions would be indigenous but have global market value”, Inuwa urged.
According to Inuwa, the challenges in Nigeria, especially when it relates to e-commerce and online transactions may have over the years negatively impacted on the dwindling trust but with the call for the adoption of international standards, there is hope that every transaction will be trusted in Nigeria.
“With digital trust in place, the plan is to have automated transactions and electronically generated invoice afterwards, this and more are possible but it is not something to be done at a local level, hence, partnering key players like the SON and international bodies like the BSI”.
“We look forward to building a stronger and mutually productive relationship as well as be a part of the global ecosystem”, the DG concluded.
Earlier, the Team Lead, British Standards Institution (BSI), Dr Nigel Croft while welcoming guests, lauded the collaboration, noting that after the workshop, there will be training sessions for all critical stakeholders in the standards sector of Nigeria.
The essence, he said is to explore the adoption of a standard that can be in line with global best practices.
The workshop featured key presentations, including that of NITDA with the topic: “Key opportunities and challenges in Nigeria’s digitisation initiatives” which was handled by the Acting Director, Standard, Guidelines and Framework Department, NITDA, Barr Emmanuel Edet.
Other presentations were made by representatives of the British Standards Institution and Standard Organisation of Nigeria.
The event afforded participants the opportunity to brainstorm during the round table discussion segment where they shared experiences on the challenges to digitisation; opportunities for entering global value chains and transforming public services via international standards.
The stakeholders were optimistic that the conclusions and recommendations reached at the end of the event would inform the next steps to take toward achieving the expected gains.