15th January, 2022
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed that the cost of the seven-month Twitter ban in Nigeria was N10.72 trillion.
Dr Chinyere Almona, Director-General, LCCI, made this known in a statement on Friday in Lagos.
“In business terms, the cost of the seven-month shutdown of Twitter operations in Nigeria is estimated to be N10.72 trillion (26.1billion dollars) according to Netblock’s Cost of Shutdown Tool,” Almona said.
In real terms the cost is about 79 percent of the N13.59 trillion budget of 2021. This is like a shot in the legs for President Buhari and Information Minister Lai Mohammed, who announced the Twitter ban.
Almona who welcomed the suspension of the ill-advised ban, said digital platforms have become a viable tool for business operations and governance in engaging with a diversified audience and boosting digital transactions.
She said that currently, the Information and Communications Technology sector is one of the growth drivers in the economy even as we see additional activities of digital platforms adding more potential to the sector.
“We, therefore, urge the government to create an enabling regulatory environment that supports global technology companies in achieving their potential and are sustainably profitable,” she said.
According to her improving Nigeria’s digital infrastructure from a policy perspective would boost healthcare delivery, agric-technology, learning, e-governance, and fintech.
Nigeria banned Twitter, a micro blogging platform, on June 5, 2021, after it deleted President Buhari’s tweet that violated its rule because it reeked of violence.
The ban was lifted on Jan. 13, after government claimed the platform had agreed to some conditions.
Almona advised Nigeria and other nations to ensure balanced negotiation in the use of digital platforms for mutual benefits between governments and operators.
She said that the negotiation became imperative due to the lessons learnt during Nigeria-Twitter issue.
She urged government to explore these lessons in creating a realistic template for regulating digital platforms in Nigeria for maximum benefits.
Almona also tasked government to create an enabling regulatory environment that would support global technology companies in achieving their potential.
According to her, when this happens, the country’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue mobilisation will receive a boost through tax revenues from these companies.
“The Federal Government’s press statement conveying the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria is well received and commendable”, she said.
Almona also implored all relevant institutions to work toward enhancing Nigeria’s digital infrastructure.