NITDA, Airtel to provide digital literacy through corporate social responsibilities



By Chimezie Godfrey

In line with the National Data Protection Regulation, NDPR, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has said it will go into partnership with AIRTEL Nigeria to provide digital literacy platforms through joint Corporate Social Responsibilities.

The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, proposed this initiative while receiving the Managing Director/CEO of AIRTEL Nigeria Mr. Surendran Chemmenkotil and his management team on a courtesy visit to the Agency’s headquarters in Abuja. 

Inuwa explained that NITDA’s regulation is not to stifle innovation or to be a constraint to businesses but to level the field for innovations to thrive.

“IT is dynamic, it is changing; new things are coming; we must be innovative in the way we regulate because our regulation is not to put unnecessary stumbles in the business environment but to make it easier.

“Government’s role in business is to intervene in terms of policy, infrastructure in the unserved and underserved communities.

“We all know the key role data plays today and what is happening globally around campaign on data privacy, surveillance capitalism and so on, explained the NITDA DG.

He stated further that it is not only about collecting the data but how it is utilised matter the most. The focus on data privacy is to let people be conscious and have ethical values, with the realization that these data belong to human being and should be adequately protected. 

While intimating his visitors on possible areas of partnership, Inuwa disclosed that NITDA have a lot of initiatives that are targeted at igniting activities in the technology ecosystem to create more demand for AIRTEL services. 

“We are doing a lot around digital literacy and digital entrepreneurship, that enables the use of digital devices to increase revenue for the data providers,” he explained.

He stated that at NITDA the focus is to bring innovation into traditional, as well as emerging resources, identify new market, create non consumer market values, so that there would be shared incentives that keeps both parties in business.

The NITDA boss averred that the partnership, through your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can promote the implementation of digital literacy, an ambitious target of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration projection of achieving 95% digital literacy by 2030. 

The Agency’s Director of Finance, Mr. Ibrahim Umar, commended AIRTEL for its compliance in remitting its annual levy of 1% profit before tax to the Information Technology Fund that is usually collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Services. 

In his speech, the National Commissioner, Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, affirmed that the issue of data is key globally, he added, “there is hardly anything we can do now without going online. Every aspect of our life is being digitized and the core of it is data.”

The Federal Government of Nigeria recognizes this many years back, but a major step was taken in 2019 when the NDPR was issued.

“We are glad to say that AIRTEL is one of the companies that has consistently complied with regulations, and we really commend you for this,” he added.

He further revealed that the NDPR gave birth to the Bureau.

Mr. President graciously approved the creation of the Bureau based on the recommendation of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, about three weeks ago.

He noted that stakeholders would be seeing a lot of actions from the Bureau soon especially in area of capacity building which is key to the development of IT.

He reiterated that data protection is a global issue, and whatever capacity we have here in Nigeria will be the same in any part of the world. 

He advised AIRTEL to have its data protection team that would oversee data and advise management on what to do in terms of awareness, capacity, organizational and technological measures that need to put in place, to ensure that the data of Nigerians are adequately protected.

He finally implored the AIRTEL management to report any breach in data protection to the Bureau within 72 hours.

The Managing Director/CEO of AIRTEL Nigeria excitedly said that he is amazed with the extent of work carried out by NITDA, especially in compliance with the NDPR.