The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), stakeholders and technology enthusiasts debated the benefits of emerging technologies such as Blockchain in boosting the country’s economy and advancing digital development.
Stakeholders agreed at a recent two-day workshop organised by the NCC, in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) that effective implementation of policies as expressed in the NCC’s guidelines, regulations, and directions could make Blockchain, a bedrock of economic innovation and growth.
Participants came from financial institutions, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), academia, the Nigerian military and paramilitary forces, the Nigerian Cyberwarfare Command, and the private sector for the workshop, which took place in Abuja and focused on “Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) Ecosystem, Decentralisation and Adoption Methods.”
Dr Haru Al-Hassan, NCC’s Director, New Media and Information Security, who delivered the opening speech on behalf of the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said existing national digital economy frameworks, such as the Federal Government’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, as well as regulatory initiatives by the Commission, have been significant enablers of Blockchain and emerging technologies.
Also, Dr Dasuki Arabi, Director-General of the BPSR, told the audience that the Nigerian government was already working on harmonising emerging technologies with the contemporary public service sector through a number of initiatives in order to improve the efficiency of the public sector. He also stated that Blockchain would be a key component of the National e-Government Masterplan’s implementation.
The introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the Bank Verification Number (BVN), automation of enforcement activities by some government agencies, etc. according to the BPSR Chief Executive, are all concrete examples of the use of this technology in the public sector.
Educationists point of view
Other speakers, including some educationists, stated the benefits of Blockchain technology and discussed urged the government to look into adopting this policy. The difference between Blockchain and Bitcoin was clarified by Dr Abdul-Kareem Oloyede of the University of Ilorin. He also mentioned that financial institutions, healthcare providers, and enterprises may use Blockchain to cut costs, speed up transactions, and improve data security.
NCC’s daring step of introducing DLTs to Nigeria was welcomed by Amaka Ukwueze of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, because Nigerians has yet to adopt a blockchain policy. She also asked the federal government to actively support Blockchain adoption, promote legal certainty for its applications, and create a flexible and adaptable regulatory environment that encourages innovation.
Vivian Okonkwo of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, suggested that Blockchain adoption would be critical in areas such as documentation, archiving, cloud storage, identity management, and online education.
Okonkwo also stated that blockchain is a cost-effective way to increase the quality of educational administrative operations, as well as a cost-effective application that might improve service delivery across the country.
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