Dr Toyin Olaitan, an expert in data governance and management, on Wednesday called on government at all levels to ensure proper management of data in the country.
Olaitan, an information Systems specialist, told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos in a telephone interview that government had a vital role to play in ensuring that policies were in place for proper management of data.
She noted that with regards to data governance, the country still had a very long way to go, urging the government to utilise its full potential.
Data governance is a collection of practices and processes which help to ensure the formal management of data assets within an organisation.
“The truth is that data is the currency of the new future. It is the new gold, so to speak.
“Data governance is one of the most important things in the fourth industrial revolution because technologies such as Internet of Things(IoT), smart cities, smart health and a myriad of other developments will be data driven, hence the criticality of accurate, valid and timeous data.
“Nigeria has got everything that it needs in terms of human resources, but we do not have the infrastructure in place?
“Do we have the correct data to plan? No, so right now, we have to start thinking seriously on how to govern data properly,” Olaitan said.
She urged the government, regulatory agencies and private organisations to implement policies, best practices and laws that would enhance proper management of data in the country.
Olaitan said that data governance was essential because of the use of data for fiscal and strategic planning.
She noted that there was the need to have proper data planning, because without that, the country would always have incorrect data.
“When one is planning based on incorrect data, then the information one gives out to the public will be incorrect.
“Your spending patterns will be incorrect, and then your budgeting will also be a problem.
“Governments all over the world are taking data very seriously. They are using different policies and frameworks to manage their data better, because they know that if they cannot measure it, then they would also not be able to manage it.
“We need to start putting data governance structures in place; right now that is a huge problem, in fact, the biggest missing link in the way Africa governs things, “Olaitan said.
She said that for structures to be put in place, the government needed to know the problems surrounding the issue of data governance in Nigeria and how they could proffer solutions.
Olaitan said it was essential to have a data governance council that would dictate the policies that should be in place and the framework that should be used.
She said that once there was a framework model, it would be easier for government to plan properly and allocate resources to various sectors.
Edited by Oluwole Sogunle