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Why Nigeria may not get fair share of $1.7tn global data economy—Expert

Just as the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that Nigeria can get a fair share of the global data economy valued at more than $1.7tn, if it adopts and faithfully implements the National Smart Initiative Policy Framework (NSIPF), a data expert has argued that the feat may become another lost opportunity if broadband continues to driven by mobile than fixed.
Mr. Jerome Audu, a big data analyst, told Business Hilights in an interview that “Though NITDA’s dream is fine and good for the economy, the challenges faced by networks in delivering last mile infrastructure which include fibre optic cables remain a big roadblock”.
“Recall that the telecoms regulator has for long issued Infrastructure Licences across the seven zones for service deployment under the Open Access Model (OAM), but questions are not being asked on why they are not rolling out across their areas of operations.
“To be sincere to you, none of the Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) is doing much due to exorbitant cost of Right of Way (RoW) imposed by states governments.
“IF NITDA really want Nigeria to partake in the huge global data economy, it should rather join hands with NCC and industry stakeholders to prevail on state governments to provide salutary environment for Infracos.
According to Audu, “No serious economy in digital inclusion and internet of things or knowledge economy can allow states to hold the development of internet infrastructure to ransom like what is happening in Nigeria today”.
Business Hilights recalls that industry stakeholders’ had at the recent Telecoms Leadership Summit in Lagos, called for an Executive Order by the Federal Government to prevail on state governments to wave all sorts of multiple taxation especially the high cost of RoW per square meter so that Open Access Model can become a reality.
Their stand is coming against the background of the fact that every other engagement and diplomatic efforts by industry operators and even the telecoms regulator, the NCC at convincing governors to soften their taxes on telecoms have failed.
NITDA recently released a draft copy of the NSIPF policy which amongst others showed how the scheme would also help the country to resolve security and unemployment challenges.
Part details of the framework provided as follows; that “Core to the adoption and use of smart solutions to address global challenges is the data they generate and the potential value of such data. The value of data in today’s digital economy cannot be over-emphasised.
“The data economy report by Digital Reality in 2018 showed that data contribute more than $1.7tn to the world’s seven richest economies. Further, International Data Corporation, a market-research firm, predicts that data monetisation will become a major source of income.
“Nigeria is at a critical stage where it needs informed and properly analysed data to take decisions on how best to tackle its ever-increasing national challenges, which includes corruption challenges, diversification and growth of its economy, insecurity and terrorism challenges, job creation and youth empowerment.
“Thus, to tackle these national challenges like other advanced nations, the Nigerian government requires real-time access to data as well as the ability to process, analyse and extract insight from such data to make informed decisions.”
Continuing, NITDA averred that “The adoption of smart initiatives in a holistic manner becomes necessary as it will help to ensure that deliberate decisions and actions are made across the smart value chain. It will give rise to new market, business models, and services to promote data and digital economy.”