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The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA has entered into collaboration with the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation to improve on the use of digital trading across borders as part its continuous effort to propel Nigeria into a future where digital technology and economic growth uplift the nation. 

This is in line with policy decisions to implement the presidential priority areas of reforming the economy for sustained inclusive growth as well as accelerating diversification through industrialisation and digitisation.

Making this known is the Director General of NITDA, Dr Kashifu Inuwa CCIE when he received in audience, a delegation from the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation led by Mr. Aleksandar Stojanov at the agency's corporate headquarters in Abuja.

The meeting was centered on fostering deep collaboration between the two organisations to enhance digital trade, cross-border data services and sharing ideas on developing regulatory policies that would accelerate economic growth through technological innovations.

Speaking on the agency’s move to review most of its regulations, Inuwa outlined the agency’s comprehensive plans and encapsulated the agency’s newly recrafted Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2.0 for 2024-2027 as part of efforts toward implementing the presidential renewed hope priority areas in enhancing the country’s digital economy.

“We started with recrafting our Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan 2.0 for 2024-2027 which has 8 strategic pillars among which is Strengthening Policy Implementation and Legal Framework and what we need to put in place to make sure we create an enabling environment for the digital economy and digital trade”, he noted.

He further highlighted key regulatory advancements and revealed that NITDA is at an advanced stage of establishing a National Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) which will underpin the nation’s electronic signature framework. He disclosed that the framework’s development has involved extensive research into international best practices and substantial investment in necessary infrastructure.

Noting the agency’s legal advancements, the NITDA DG said that efforts are underway to push for the enactment of a comprehensive digital economy bill that will incorporate the electronic signature framework and other critical regulatory instruments.

While emphasising the importance of blockchain technology in enhancing the security and efficiency of digital transactions, he averred that a broader blockchain policy is being developed, particularly to focus on the implementation of smart contracts.

Enunciating the upcoming data exchange platform designed to streamline and enhance messaging systems, Inuwa said; “We have the Nigerian Data Strategy which will create a balance between the protection and the viability of open data to promote innovation. Because even within the country, we need to allow people to have access to open data for them to innovate and for decision-making.”

The DG disclosed that NITDA’s regulatory department is working on streamlining its regulations in addressing the plethora of existing regulatory instruments to tackle major challenges effectively.

While underscoring the necessity of digitalising Nigeria’s single window and customs procedures, he asserted that NITDA is actively participating in cross-border digital trade protocols which has been enhancing Nigeria’s role in the global digital economy.

“The EU just developed a Cyber Resilience Act which covers all these software and hardware testing issues so we can also have one instrument that can look at the cyber resilience, the software, hardware, firmware issues and even the national cyber security architecture could be part of that,” he opined.

He expressed the agency’s willingness to collaborate with individuals, organisations and experts to refine and implement all these strategic initiatives in optimizing Nigeria’s digital landscape.

In his earlier address, Mr Stojanov shared their initial findings from the digital trade regulatory gap analysis conducted by the World Bank on the continent, particularly in Nigeria and how regulations can play a critical role in enhancing it.

He however gave assurances of the World Bank’s eagerness to collaborate and support NITDA in propelling digital trade and cross-border data services.

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