In a bid to fast track the adoption and utilise the gains of emerging technologies, the Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a National Policy on Blockchain Technology and inaugurated the Blockchain Implementation & Steering Committee to oversee its implementation.
The policy, which was launched by Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), minister of Communications and Digital Economy, is to promote the adoption of blockchain technology in Nigeria and to position the country as a leading player in the global blockchain ecosystem.
While launching the Policy on behalf of Federal Government of Nigeria, Professor Pantami recalled that the journey of Blockchain Technology officially started in Nigeria on 28th November, 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja where President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled and launched the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.
The Minister explained that the seventh pillar which is ‘Digital Society & Emerging Technologies’ out of the eight captured in the Policy, is now achieving the desired progress as Blockchain remains one of the Emerging Technologies.
He said, “In order to implement the seventh pillar, we had to develop other policies, including Policy on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics which brought about the establishment of the first ever National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) in Africa, sited here in Abuja”.
“Also, in our efforts to implement the policy, particularly, pillar number seven, we developed the National Blockchain Policy for Nigeria”, Prof. Pantami noted.
Prof. Pantami stressed the importance of the technology to the nation’s Digital Economy drive, noting that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is comparatively the one that has not relegated African Continent to the background, especially as African Nations, particularly Nigeria are actively participating in the revolution which he added is an extension of the third revolution.
“Blockchain Technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Cloud & Quantum Computing, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Autonomous Vehicle, Bio Technology, 5G, Cyber Security, are all disruptive technologies brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Nigeria is one of the, at least three countries in Africa, that are actively involved in the 4th Industrial Revolution,” he added.
According to the Minister, the success stories of exploits and displays of ingenuity by Nigerian innovators underscore the country’s position as a key player in Africa’s technological advancement and strengthens the country’s position as the leading startup hub in Africa.
While noting the development and subsequent approval of the National Blockchain Policy on the 3rd of May, 2023, Prof. Pantami confirmed that the tech and all its components and types are no more illegal but now legal in the Country.
The Digital Economy Boss maintained that prior to the approval of the policy, a total of fifty six stakeholders and institutions were engaged in the scrutiny of the document.
“This policy is to provide an enabling environment for your teaming young population who are mostly digital natives to partake in critical thinking, identify complex problems, come up with solutions for implementation of adoption in Nigeria or any parts of the world”, Prof. Pantami noted.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullah, director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), who earlier welcomed guests to the auspicious occasion said that the event signalled a remarkable milestone in the journey towards achieving a Digital Nigeria where citizens have access to the latest technology, skills and a conducive environment to innovate in the realm of the Blockchain Technology.
Inuwa affirmed that the policy represents a significant leap and the opportunity to create an enabling environment through investments in talents, access to the technology and domestication.
The DG said “this will give our citizens the opportunity to create and capture value from the enormous benefits of the tech”.
Inuwa who quoted PWC that by 2030, the Blockchain Technology will add $1.76Trillion to the global GDP maintained that the plan is to ensure that Nigeria positions itself properly to benefit therefrom.
“If the policy is implemented, Nigeria can gain up to $4B”, Inuwa avowed.
The launch also featured the inauguration of the National Blockchain Policy Implementation/Steering Committee and graduation of 32,022 beneficiaries trained in Blockchain Technology.
The Minister who inaugurated the committee and presented certificates to some of the beneficiaries trained on Blockchain Technology, said by implication, the action is to consolidate on the initiative commenced by the Federal Government.
The committee members numbering about 29 as inaugurated, comprise of representatives from critical sectors of the economy.
Meanwhile, some of the graduates shared their success stories and promised to judiciously utilise the knowledge gained during the training.
They expressed gratitude to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and NITDA as well as the facilitators for affording them the platform to be trained.