The Federal Government’s press statement conveying the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria is well received and commendable. The operations of the microblogging platform were shut down on the 5th of June 2021 by the Federal Government due to the use of the platform for subversive purposes and criminal activities that were seen as threats to national security and social cohesion. It has become imperative that nations negotiate the achievement of balance in the use of digital platforms for mutual benefits between government regulators and operators. We appreciate the lessons learned during the negotiations between the Technical Committee on Nigeria-Twitter Engagement with Twitter and urge the government to explore these lessons in creating a realistic template for regulating digital platforms in Nigeria for maximum benefits.

In business terms, the cost of the seven-month shutdown of Twitter operations in Nigeria is estimated to be N10.72 trillion ($26.1billion) between June 5th, 2021 to 13th January 2022, according to Netblock’s Cost of Shutdown Tool. Digital platforms have become a viable tool for business operations and governance in engaging with diversified audiences and boosting digital transactions. We, therefore, urge the government to create an enabling regulatory environment that supports global technology companies in achieving their potentials and are sustainably profitable. When this happens, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and revenue mobilization will receive a boost through tax revenues from these companies. Currently, the ICT sector is one of the growth drivers in the economy and we see additional activities of the digital platforms as adding more potentials to this sector.

We commend the efforts of the Federal Ministers, agencies, and committees that have pulled the negotiations and gotten approval for the lifting of the suspension. We request that all relevant institutions work towards enhancing our digital infrastructure to adequately and sustainably support innovation in almost all sectors of the economy especially healthcare delivery, agric-technology, learning, e-governance, and fintech.

Dr. Chinyere Almona, FCA
Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Thursday 13th January 2022

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