The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami said that the market value of Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) in Nigeria has hit N5.5 billion.
Pantami disclosed this at a press briefing to mark the commencement of the 2023 Global Data Privacy Week on Saturday in Abuja.
The annual Data Privacy Day is with the theme: “Think Privacy First”.
Pantami said: ”Data is critical to the country and it is a global best practice, otherwise it will be difficult to attract so many interventions and benefits to the country.”
He said that data privacy was not only an enabling law but a constitutional right as long as citizens were innocent and law abiding.
The minister said the NDPB had so many benefits through having the law in place and an authority to implement it on behalf of the country.
Pantami said: “The NDPB has created many jobs that the value as at today amounts to N5.5 billion.
“Today. it is a global best practice that you must have the law in place, otherwise you will find it difficult to attract so many interventions and benefits to your country.
“Even potential investors these days ask questions whether you have data protection law covering your country or not.
“If you do not have any data protection law in place, they feel uncomfortable coming into your country to invest because today data is critical.
“We usually say data is the new oil but sometimes I even argue that data is water because water is a necessity for survival and data is a necessity for knowledge based economy survival.”
According to him, there is no way a knowledge-based economy would be established without data.
”Water, when stored, could be used at any moment. The same with data,” he said.
All these, Pantami said were why the MInistry came up with the proposal of having a full-fledged data protection institution and also a principal legislation of data protection relation in Nigeria.
“The law about data protection is not in any way to punish our citizens, but rather to create awareness so that we will all be data compliant.
“That is why it is important. We are urged to comply, and today because of awareness creation, reaching out to other institutions, sanctions and interrogating others, you will discover that the compliance rate is going higher,” Pantami said.
The National Commissioner of NDPB, Dr Vincent Olatunji, said the aim of the privacy week was to sensitise people and disseminate privacy practices and principles across the society.
Olatunji said that the commission, born out of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was to encourage everyone to own up to their responsibilities in order to bring about a culture of privacy.
“It is a day that has been set aside to create awareness of fundamental rights and freedoms relating to the privacy of citizens in the data processing ecosystem.
“As at today, we have sensitised over 50 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). We now have a circular that all must comply with the provisions of the law,” he said.
Nigeria is the first African country to celebrate the international data privacy day alongside the developed countries.
Recalled that the NDPB bill was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for transmission to the National Assembly.