As the year 2022 enters its last quarter, it is important to take stock of the several developments that have occurred so far towards the regulation of Technology in Nigeria in the absence of a dedicated piece of legislation.
This article will focus on highlighting the most important pieces of legislation and Regulatory Framework development that has so far taken place this year in Nigeria.
These developments are as follows:-
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- The passing into law of the Nigerian Start-up Bill:- This has led to the introduction of the Nigerian Start-up Act that has finally constituted the first piece of legislation focused on the registration and operation of Start-ups in Nigeria, followed by the introduction of many incentives for techpreneurs across the country.
- The introduction of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN Guidelines on Cyber-security for Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) in Nigeria:- The CBN is responsible for the first piece of legislation focused on the issue of Cyber-security for Other Financial Institutions in the light of a rather very high incidence of cyber-financial crimes across all levels of the Fintech sector in Nigeria.
One major introduction of these guidelines is the Regulatory requirement for all OFIs to have appointed Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) .
- The introduction of digital companies based outside Nigeria now being subject to Income Tax obligations :- This is pursuant to the provisions of the new Finance Act 2022 which empowers the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS to tax such companies on a deemed profit basis.
- The creation of the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) :- The NDPB now exists as the replacement for the defunct National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) by virtue of its establishment in the first quarter of 2022.
What this now means is that the NDPB now has overall Regulatory jurisdiction over everything related to Data Protection Compliance in Nigeria.
- The introduction by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN of the Guidelines on Open Banking in Nigeria :- Open Banking is a service concept that emphasizes the excuses of a borderless and free-flowing river of end-user data that is based on the concepts of End-user consent to the access this end-user data pool as well as the use of Application Programming Interface (API) agreements.
The guidelines also provide for the creation of a CBN Open Banking Registry (OBR) for the purpose of more focused Regulatory monitoring by regulators.
- The introduction of the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over digital asset platforms from licensing to post licensing operation :- This has led to the provision of new Cryptocurrency service business licenses that are :-
a). Digital Asset Exchanges(DAX)
b). Digital Asset Offerings Providers (DAOP)
c). Digital Asset Custodians (DACs)
d). Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)
- The full subjection of Insurtech service providers, particularly Insurance Web Aggregators, under the Regulatory jurisdiction of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
- The provision for online protection of copyrights :- This is by virtue of a soon-to-be-passed Copyright Bill, giving the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to restrict pubic access to Digital platforms suspected of Copyright infringement.
- The blocking of Mobile Payment & Telecommunications access to Digital Lending firms in Nigeria :- This was carried out by the Federal Government through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission FCCPC which, as a result of several Data Protection violations by Digital lenders, decided effective from the 19th of August,2022 to carry out certain Regulatory measures.
The most notable of such measures was the development by the inter-agency Joint Regulatory & Enforcement Task Force of a Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework & Guidelines For Digital Lending 2022 .
As a result of this, Telecommunications companies & Payment Service Providers (PSPs) among others have been warned to cease & desist server/hosting or other main services to lenders that are the focus of investigations related to sharp business practices.