By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, June 17, 2021 The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called on the Federal Government to effectively integrate the private sector into the making and implementation of the digital economy policy.
Dr Abubakar Al-Mujtaba, ACCI’s President, made the call on Thursday in Abuja while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Continental Project Affairs Associates Ltd. (CPAA) on Digital Economy and ICT Policy.
The collaboration with CPPA, a key player within the ICT space, would deepen the drive to create an all-inclusive digital economy policy platform for Nigeria.
Al-Mujtaba, however, said that government’s efforts would not yield desired effect unless the private sector was effectively integrated into the making and implementation of digital economy policy.
According to the ACCI boss, worldwide, the private sector is put on the driver seat to speed up innovations and cost-efficient operations of the ever-widening sector.
He stated that designing a digital economy policy without strong input of the private sector would create 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 the leading chamber in Nigeria decides to institute a ‘Digital Economy Series’ which will regularly dwell on ICT Policy issues and produce policy contributions.
“The MoU is to further actualise the dream of a virile ICT policy series,’’ he said.
Al-Mujtaba, while commending the government on various initiatives introduced, added that ICT contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was growing every quarter while the potential of the sector as a job creator was well documented.
“With a troubled oil sector and global drive against fossil fuel, digital economy holds the key especially for a country with youths dominated demography,’’ he said.
Responding, Amb. Segun Olugbile, Managing Director, CPPA in a remark noted that the MoU would galvanise the private sector through the ACCI to work together with the government to harness the digital policy opportunity.
According to him, presently, there are policy innovations, direction and strategic initiatives and there are opportunities that the business community will tap into.
“The idea will enable policy dialogue between the business community and government, bridge the gap, harness business initiatives and enable needed private sector investment as well as job creation.
“There are a lot of businesses coming up within the ICT environment; on the long run, it will empower and stimulate businesses, bridge disconnect between local SMEs and digital world,’’ he said.
Olugbile added that it would offer Digital SMEs which aimed at transforming businesses through the use of ICT, policy dialogue engagement with private sector and business led economy event on innovation and local content.
Earlier, Mr Olawale Rasheed, Executive Director, ACCI Policy Advocacy Centre (PAC), said the centre adopted a unique strategy of tapping technical and intellectual know-how of professionals across the sector for policy advocacy and associated activities.
Rasheed noted that aside digital economy policy, it had lined up for approval of several policy programmes and has jointly coordinated policy programmes with trade groups, hence its newest partnership with the ICT trade group.
Mr Osi Imomoh, ACCI Vice President, ICT who also expressed delight on the MoU, said it would energise the chamber, empower members and scale up increasing growth of the ICT sector.