POLITICAL ECONOMY

Digitisation Policy Drive Impacting The Country Positively – DG NITDA

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By Angeline Mgbele, Bureau Chief, Northern Nigeria                                                        

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa, has said that the digitisation policy drive of the Federal Government as contained in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) is impacting positively in corporate governance, Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Customer (B2C), and Business-to-Government (B2G) relationships.

Mallam Inuwa stated this while delivering a good will message at the Validation Workshop for the National e-Commerce Policy and Strategy by the National Advisory Committee, on Electronic Commerce and Digital Economy (NACEDE), which took place in Abuja, north central, Nigeria, recently.

Inuwa said, Digital Economic sector, which was a super-set of e-commerce, remained key to Nigeria’s economic recovery in the post-COVID era, deploying new technological innovations, such as e-commerce platforms, including social media-enabled trading handles, and ensuring rapid uptake of e-commerce for economic growth and competitiveness.

“Nigeria is experiencing the positive impact of e-commerce activities due to the growing increase in access to the Internet and related IT tools and services. The contributions of the telecommunications sector to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was an average15 per cent in July 2022 and experienced 44.5 per cent broadband penetration with active internet subscriptions that peaked at 151 million,” Inuwa said.

The NITDA DG who was represented by Acting Director, Digital Economy and Development Department, Engineer Salisu Kaka further said, “we have approximately 2000 digital innovation companies with 384 products in Nigeria. These Startups have raised over US$2 billion in venture capital funding in 2021 alone. With an estimated 89,000 developers representing 12 per cent of the African developers’ population, Nigeria’s e-commerce market size is about US$17 billion. There is annual spending of about US$12 billion in 2022, and this is projected to reach US$75 billion by 2025.”

“Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) appear to be the major beneficiaries of the concept of e-commerce as it enabled MSMEs to operate in the global marketplace. MSMEs can now participate in regional businesses and enjoys social, economic, and cultural networks seamlessly across international boundaries.

“Global corporations now operate with much consistency while MSMEs experience enhanced participation in international value chains, increased market access and reach improved internal and external market efficiency, and lower transaction costs,” he noted.

He also said that there was a need to maintain the tide and optimise the benefit of technology and e-commerce, which had necessitated Nigeria to have a robust national e-commerce policy and strategy.

“Additionally, Nigeria is a signatory to bilateral, regional, continental, and global treaties on trade and trade-related activities. Having a national policy that recognized these treaties is necessary for the mutual benefit of member nations.

“The policy will help us as a nation to make use of trade agreements that facilitate e-commerce for national benefits and avoid possible distortions that could jeopardize the optimization of the opportunities in e-commerce and hinders the growth of our businesses.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari (GCFR), through the supervision of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is keen on ensuring developments in Nigeria’s Digital Economy sector. I believe that e-commerce policy is central to these developments”, he added.

The Chairman of NACEDE, Director of the Commodities and Export Department, at the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment  Suleman Adebayo Audu, in his earlier remarks, stated that taking advantage of the Digital Economy would boost the growth of e-Commerce across the country thereby bringing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and grow the economy.

Adebayo averred that this policy document represented the priority of the Federal Government, adding the workshop would provide an avenue for inclusiveness of citizens to partake in the decision-making, and contribute ideas, initiatives, and criticisms that would be beneficial to the policy document before the full implementation for the benefit of the country.

The policy document will be compiled as part of the scorecard of the present administration which will boost the operations of e-Commerce across the country.

The workshop organised by the Agency in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment (FMITI),  aimed at providing a platform to review, deliberate, and contribute towards the full implementation of the policy document.

NITDA in collaboration with the Trade Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), have jointly worked to produce the draft National E-Commerce Policy and Strategy document for Nigeria. The work is part of the Nigerian Government’s efforts to meet the ECOWAS, AU, and the global requirements for trade development in general and e-commerce in particular.

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