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Danbatta, Others Extol Benefits of Data in Development of Digital Economy

Prof. Garba Danbatta. EVC, NCC
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Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that real value can only be driven from data when it is gathered completely and accurately, connected to other relevant data, and done in a timely manner. He stated this while delivering a keynote address at the 10th edition of the Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum held on Friday online via zoom.
The event themed: “Data the New Oil of the Digital Economy” had ICT policy makers and policy enablers in attendance. The EVC noted that data when properly refined could quickly become a decision-making tool – information – that allows companies to react to market forces and be proactive and intentional in their decision-making. He further expressed delight in the significant contributions of telecommunications sector in the development of the Nigerian economy. According to him, “It is gratifying that in the last few years, the telecommunications sector has consistently driven the digital economy agenda of the government, as it provided the necessary impetus for the support of the Nigerian economy in the digital space. 
“It is pertinent to add that the information and communication sector recorded a growth of 6.31% in Q1 2021, which was largely driven by the growth in the telecommunications sub-sector (+7.69%). “This growth trend has rekindled the hope that economic diversification can be realised in Nigeria. “Also one of the most dynamic developments related to the digital economy has been the rise of social network platforms which have set the stage for unprecedented social to interactions, dialogue, exchange and collaboration. 
“These platforms have opened up multiple avenues for entrepreneurship, business connectivity and engineered several activities that support ease of doing business in Nigeria”. Danbatta further stated that the Commission is currently working on a regulatory instrument to manage data collection and utilisation in the Nigerian communications sector. The process, according to him, is going through the Commission’s collaborative rule making approach and will provide all stakeholders with ample opportunities to participate.
Engr. Ike Nnamani. President of Medallion Comms & President ATCON
Engr Ikechukwu Nnamani, CEO – Medallion Communications Limited and President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), speaking on the Topic titled: “Building Blocks to a Data Based Digital Economy” said that digital economy is the network of economic activities, commercial transactions and professional interactions that are enabled by information and communications technologies. He noted that the benefits of digital economy span across, Job creation, Rise in E-commerce, Expansion in business opportunities, Transparency, Improvement in public services, Digital delivery of goods and services and others. He equally said that Nigeria is still far from generating the volume of data that will make data the new oil for Nigeria, noting that there is still need for more local content data generation in Nigeria for its Data to move from people and business based to machine based if we are to generate adequate data to make data Nigeria’s new oil.
According to him, “Nigeria is missing in key cloud services platform location. “Hyperscale datacenters must be located within Nigeria to make the key cloud service platform to be located within the country. “Edge datacenters are needed for effective storage and distribution of content across the country to ensure efficient service delivery.”
Earlier, Tayo Adewusi, editor-in-Chief of ICT Watch magazine, the organizers of the event, said that Data in the 21st Century is like Oil in the 18th Century: an immensely, untapped valuable asset. He noted that Data is the key to smooth and efficient running of everyday life, including in both public and private sectors.  “Like oil, for those who see Data’s fundamental value and learn to extract and use it there will be huge rewards. “We are in a digital economy where data is more valuable than ever. It’s the key to the smooth functionality of everything from the government to local companies. Without it, progress would halt”.
Rotimi Akeredolu. Governor, Ondo State
Oluwarotimi Arakunrin Akeredolu, SAN, Governor of Ondo State, speaking at the event via virtual platform, emphasized the importance of Data to all stakeholders in Nigeria’s economy, noting that it’s the lifeblood of any digital economy. He said, “The importance of data cannot be overemphasised in the economy of nations because data is the lifeblood of digital economy. “We are in digital economy where data is more valuable than ever.  “Hence, it is not surprising that data has of late been referred to as ‘the new oil’.  Data is an essential resource that powers the present digital economy”.
Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) speaking on the topic: Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and the Future of Data Governace, said the world has gradually evolved into a digital platform in which everything we do appears to be linked to technology in some way.  
He noted that the digitalization phenomenon has now elevated digital platforms to become drivers of the economy rather than enablers. The DG added that digital economy is highly dependent on the availability of data and the requisite skills to process such data to extract maximum economic and social value.
Engr. Biodun Omoniyi. MD/CEO, VDT Comms
Abiodun Omoniyi, CEO, VDT Communications Limited, who spoke on the theme: ‘Why Data will be the New Oil in the Digital Economy’, said that data is now world’s most valuable resource. He stated that it will not be right to say that data will be the new oil, but that it is already the new oil. On the contributions of Telecom industry in the Nigerian economy, Omoniyi said, “Telecom is already the new oil especially in Nigeria with the highly dwindling oil fortunes. “The fact that telecoms globally and in Nigeria are largely driven by the private sector gives it tremendous room for growth.
“However, governments around the world and including Nigeria need to create growth-oriented policies and provide enabling environments for the full potentials of data to be harnessed. “Data has enormous potentials to displace oil in leading the global economic growth now and the foreseeable future”.
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