ACCI president: How to benefit from digital economy

The President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar has affirmed that Nigeria should deepen private sector participation in the making of digital economy policies and programmes to benefit maximally from the booming sector.

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Speaking at the signing of MOU on Digital Economy policy between the ACCI and the Continental Project Affairs Associates Ltd. (CPAA) in Abuja on Thursday, Dr Abubakar said governmental drive within the ICT sector is “a recognition of the digital shift within the economy as ICT contribution to the GDP is growing every quarter and the potential of the sector as a job creator is well documented.

“We note the giant strides the ICT sector has taken under the present administration. We particularly commend the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Ibrahim Pantanmi on the various initiatives so far introduced. With a troubled oil sector and global drive against fossil fuel, digital economy holds the key especially for a country with a youth dominated demography”, he said.

According to him, “government’s efforts cannot fully yield desired effect unless the private sector is effectively integrated into the making and implementation of the digital economy policy. Worldwide, the private sector is put on the driver seat to speed up innovation and cost efficient operations of the ever widening sector. Designing a digital economy policy without the strong input of the private sector is therefore a serious error.

“To develop the sector effectively, engagement with the private sector is key. Policies emerging from such consultation will integrate the aspirations of the operators and assist the regulators to emerge as facilitators. That is why the ACCI as a leading chamber in Nigeria decides to institute a Digital Economy Policy Series. The series will regularly dwell on ICT Policy issues and produce policy contributions”, the ACCI boss noted.

Responding, the Executive Chairman, CPAA, Amb. Olusegun Olugbile, said his group wants a viable relationship in which the business sector will be able to coordinate itself and engage government appropriately in the ongoing task of designing and implementing a robust national digital economy policy, assuring that the strategic plan is designed to harness and articulate private sector perspectives for digital policy dialogue.

“The idea is to first enable policy dialogue between the business community and later within a public private dialogue framework. This will assist government in the formulation of regulations and overall national policy. We see ACCI as a strong platform to drive this initiative”, Olugbile stated.

The Vice President, ICT Mr. Osi Imomoh at the signing of the MoU said ICT is now a critical sub-sector of the national economy, assuring that “ACCI is committed to deploying ICT to drive business, create wealth and support government in the making and implementation of digital economy policy”.

Earlier, the Executive Director of ACCI Policy Centre, Mr Olawale Rasheed had shed light on the background to the digital economy policy plan even as he said today’s event is the beginning of series of similar MOUs designed to institutionalize the policy advocacy process within the chamber and deepen the business side of policy work.”

“Through the instrumentality of unpaid policy fellows, we have developed a huge pool of policy volunteers. This has put the PAC in strong stead to discharge its mandate in policy work. It also places us on a strong pedestal for our new role as a national policy centre for the national chamber movement in Nigeria, NACCIMA”, Mr Rasheed noted.

A statement by the Media Officer, Yemi Ibrahim said the Registrar General of the ACCI, Aisha Ado Abdulahi and other top staff of the chamber were also present at the event.