DIGITAL TRUST: Implementing International Standards To Support Digitization Policies Is My Focus – DG NITDA

The Director-General of, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE has harped on the need to build digital trust and implement international standards to support digitization policies in a bid to fast-track transformation and shape the digital future of Nigeria,

Inuwa made this known while speaking at a Digital Policy workshop, organised by the British Standards Institution (BSI), held in Abuja.

The Director General reaffirmed the importance of NITDA’s role in standards for digital transformation and said that the event is highly appropriate because it will strengthen the partnership between the Agency, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and the British Government, which will inevitably contribute to improving digital adoption and trust in Nigeria.

Inuwa emphasized that the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy was given a mandate by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to expedite the diversification of the Nigerian economy by increasing productivity in vital sectors through technological innovation. In response, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, unveiled the Ministry’s strategic plan, which is composed of five strategic pillars.

Inuwa elaborated on the five strategic pillars—Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation (Entrepreneurship & Capital), and Trade—and confirmed that NITDA is creating the Agency’s eight-pillar Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan.

The NITDA Boss listed and described each pillar, but she underlined that the Agency is working tirelessly to develop digital trust across the board, both to reawaken and rest confidence in the populace, which is required to use digital services securely and responsibly.

The NITDA DG in a photo session with other participants during the British Standards Institution workshop on digital policy in Abuja.

“To achieve that, we need to have standards and a guideline for building our services and digital offerings, and that explains why as part of the Ministry’s target set for NITDA, which was to develop standards 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, while the difficulties in Nigeria, particularly regarding e-commerce and online transactions, may have had a detrimental effect on the declining trust over time, there is hope that every transaction in Nigeria will be trusted as a result of the call for the adoption of international standards.
“With digital trust in place, the plan is to have automated transactions and electronically generated invoices afterward, 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 being a part of the global ecosystem”, the DG concluded.

Earlier, the Team Lead, of 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 digitization 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 allowed participants to brainstorm during the round table discussion segment where they shared experiences on the challenges to digitization; 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.