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NITDA releases five new regulatory guidelines for IT development

NITDA releases five new regulatory guidelines for IT development

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The DG who addressed the press during the official Public Presentation of the IT Guidelines held at Sandralia Hotel, Utako, Abuja, said that the Regulatory Documents are as a result of the  team’s painstaking and tireless researches and wide consultations.

He added that these documents reflect and signal the direction of Government for development of IT in Nigeria.

Efforts towards strengthening local contents

Dr. Pantami sharing good news regarding NITDA’s efforts of strengthening Local Content regulations, said these efforts resulted in an exceptional increase in the patronage of locally assembled devices.

“Records have shown that in 2015, Indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) sold 98,224 devices in 2015, 154,424 in 2016 and 355,647 in 2017.

“This is unprecedented in the history of the country and this is expected to continue to grow significantly in the coming years”.

The regulatory instruments:

First, the Rulemaking Process of NITDA

“On assumption of office, we realized that the Agency did not have any instrument that stipulates a clear process for rule making for issuance of Frameworks, Standards and Guidelines. This effort is to ensure a defined, best practice approach to rule making is utilized by NITDA to develop sound instruments for regulation of IT.

“We also anticipate that the public will now understand all the processes involved in issuance of regulatory documents by the Agency. This policy also creates platforms for public engagement in the issuance of regulatory documents by the Agency.

“From this point henceforth, NITDA will be generally bound by the Rulemaking Process as an integral part of the operations of the Agency.

Secondly, the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation of NITDA

“This regulation is issued pursuant to Section 6 (c) of the National Information Technology Development (NITDA) Act 2007.

“This section of the Act empowers NITDA to issue regulations and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communications on all matters pertaining to government, commerce, and the private and public sectors.

“These Guidelines will form the basis for which personal data of Nigerian citizens will be protected and managed. We are committed to strict enforcement of the Guidelines and enjoin all organizations, both public and private, to comply forthwith”.

Thirdly, the Guidelines for Clearance of Information Technology Projects for all Public Institutions, which include MDAs, Federal Institutions and Federal Government Owned Companies.

These Guidelines are issued pursuant to Section 6 paragraphs (a) (b) (c) of the NITDA Act 2007.

“These Guidelines set forth a process to guide Federal Institutions in procuring Information Technology goods and services. These Guidelines crucially identifies IT procurements by the Federal Government as National Investments and therefore stipulates the process that must be followed to prevent waste, engender accountability and to ensure these investments are used for the development of IT in Nigeria.

“These Guidelines give expression to the National Information Technology Policy, 2001 which provides for IT to be used for governance and be used for engagement with the citizenry by establishing ‘transparent Government wide information systems’ at all levels”.

The DG further explained that the Guidelines’ core objectives are to ensure non- duplication of IT projects, promotion of shared services, the use of local content where available, to ensure that the technology used or purchased in Nigeria is up-to-date and not at the end-of-life and that the technology and services being procured are suitable for the country from the point of view of security.

He also disclosed that Federal Government Institutions such as CBN, NDIC, BOA, FMBN, EFCC, ICPC, CAC, NIS, NCS, FIRS, AuGF, PEF, SGF and the Presidency attest to the value of this process.

“Furthermore, the process facilitated a saving of over 13 billion naira to the Federal Government”, Dr. Pantami cheerfully stated.

Fourthly, the Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access (PIA) provides a framework and guidelines for providers of public internet access services to maintain appropriate systems and policies to protect Nigerians who use these services.

“NITDA is delighted with the increasing availability of free internet access across the country. However, we are also conversant with the risk it portends as unscrupulous elements can take advantage of these systems to compromise the cyber security of Nigerians or the possibility of misuse of citizens data.

“We are therefore determined to ensure data of citizens are stored and managed in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Guidelines of NITDA and other additional requirements stipulated in the Guidelines for Public Internet Access.

“Section 6(a, b, i, m) of NITDA Act empowers the Agency to issue Guidelines to ensure appropriate systems and practices are in place for the use of Information Technology as a resource, and to issue regulatory policies that encourage investments in IT.

Lastly, the Framework and Guidelines for the Use of Social Media Platforms in Public Institutions.

“We all acknowledge the dynamism and broad-reach social media offers the public sector in reaching and communicating with citizens. However, it is also obvious how increasingly the lines may get blurred between representing the ideas of Government and personal ideas through these platforms. In some cases, due to the absence of clear polices by Federal Institutions, important information and records are lost when handlers of these platforms either move from their roles or leave the organisation.

“This constitutes a risk to information management and public accountability. NITDA will continue to monitor the use of social media for Federal Public Institutions to ensure consistency and professional use of these platforms.

“In conclusion, I want to thank you once again for finding time to be with us today. The Agency has taken its regulatory responsibility seriously, and in 2019 it will ensure that violators of NITDA’s Regulatory Instruments are appropriately sanctioned.

“Our Standards, Frameworks and Guidelines are regulatory policies and are not issued for the sake of being relevant. The IT sector cannot be effectively developed without relevant rules and regulations creating certain level of uniformity, consistency and careful investments in the right type of technology systems needed in a country such as ours.

“We are also encouraging innovation as we shall soon issue directives to encourage MDAs to use emerging technologies like cloud computing, blockchain and various other platforms for big data analytics. I therefore use this opportunity to invite you once again to continue to be our partners on this journey. We anticipate and count on your continued support and partnership”, he explained.

Soft copies of all are available for download on NITDA’s website – www.nitda.gov.ng.

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