NITDA proposes new bill to advance information tech



By Olatunde Ajayi

The Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced a proposed amendment to its bill for the advancement of information technology development in Nigeria.

Mr Emmanuel Edet, Head of Legal Services, NITDA, stated this at a webinar organised by the Nigeria Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE) on Wednesday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the webinar had as  its theme: “The Proposed NITDA Amendment Bill:  Impact of Professionals”.

Edet explained that the bill that established NITDA was passed and signed to into law in 2007 for the regulating and development of  information technology in Nigeria.

He noted, however, that the legacy bill of 2007 could no longer address the new developments in information technology space, because of changes that had occurred in the IT sector ever since.

“We need to move on with the vision that works to determine what we are going to meet in the IT industry in the future.

“We are moving from digitisation to digitalisation, so as to change business module and provide revenues when we produce opportunities,” he said.

He noted collaborative regulations as the duty of all players in digital ecosystem, with NITDA at the centre of the process which informed the call for review of the mandate of NITDA.

Edet said the bill was for an Act to repeal the NITDA Act 2007, and to enact the NITDA Act 2021 to provide for the administration, implementation and regulation of information technology systems and practices, as well as digital economy in Nigeria and for other related matters.

“Due to scope of realignment, there is a need to repeal the original Act, to ensure coherence, not withstanding, most of the provisions have been modified or retained.

“The proposed draft bill is set to consolidate the agency’s regulatory powers to include emerging technologies and digital economy development, providing the agency with administrative enforcement powers and defining the objectives of the agency among others, “he said.

Also speaking, Prof. Adesina Shodiya, President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), said NITDA’s original act did not take care of current realitis in the IT sector.

He said NCS was interested in the proposed NITDA Act and ready to support, so that NITDA would continue to focus on advancement and growth of information development in Nigeria.

He added that NCS had submitted its comments and contributions to the proposed amendment.

The National Chairman of NIEEE, Mr Akan Michael, said nations of the world were now in a digital age where data are more valuable than oil, whereby modern economy are sustained digitally.

He stressed that this reason informed the need to put a formidable regulation in place, to accommodate the fast changing digital space.

Michael disclosed that there were no fewer than  20,000 Electrical /Electronic Engineers in Nigeria, including other professionals that would be affected by NITDA amendment bill, thereby informing the need for proper deliberations on it. (NAN)