MPs underline benefits of personal data protection law 

THE Parliament has passed the Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 as legislators jointly shed light on the advantages of the expected law if President Samia Suluhu Hassan assents to it into Act.

The House unanimously endorsed the Bill on Tuesday evening.

Earlier, when tabled the Bill for the second reading in the Parliament, Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye, argued that the Bill, once enacted into law will attract more investors, especially in the ICT sector.

“After the new Act being signed by the President, we will witness the flood of investors here,” Mr Nape stated.

Adding: “In today’s word, investors do not go to invest in the country where there is no law on personal data protection. No doubt that having this law we will attract more investors particularly into the ICT sector.”

He assured the legislators that the government will take into account their suggestions during the making of regulations.

With regard to sources of revenues for financing activities of the proposed commission, the minister said one of the sources would be the ministry’s budget.

“We will also add more sources when formulating the regulations. I assure you that we will formulate good regulations that are in line with the envisaged law,” he assured.

The Bill seeks for enactment of the Personal Data Protection Act 2022.

It proposes that there shall be established a Commission for the Protection of Personal Data.

The Commission is proposed to be given the authority to issue administrative fines, when it is satisfied with depending on the level of violation committed.

The document also suggests there must be procedures for the collection, use, and storage of personal data.

It further suggests requirement to appoint Personal Data Protection Officer and Data Collectors shall be registered and a license to be valid for a period of 5 years.

On its part, the Parliamentary Committee on infrastructure Development noted that it evaluated the Bill and established that the Bill has public interest.

Its chairperson Selemani  Kakoso said the Bill has taken into account the protection of personal data.

Mr Kakoso argued that the personal data protection assures citizens of control of their personal information and dignity.

“Lack of personal information can lead to effects to individuals and public at large,” he said.

He said the committee went through various publications on the general perception of the personal data protection and established that the issue must be legally-binding in order to protect human dignity in the country.

The committee has resolved that it was necessary to put in place conditions for collecting and processing personal data in the public offices.

Looking at experiences from regional bodies, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also requires it members to have systems in place a law for personal data protection, storage and processing.

The East African Community (EAC) also has the guideline directing its members to have law on personal data protection.

For EAC Member States, for instance, Kenya and Uganda already have the law on personal data protection.

Also, the committee suggested that the government should effectively supervise the crafting of the regulations of the envisaged law.

Several MPs, who spoke on the Bill and forthcoming new law, mentioned number of benefits, including attracting investors, enhance digital economy, assuring information protection and human dignity.

Zahor Haji (Mweta-CCM), commented “whether we like or not we should protect people’s privacy because the world has now gone digital. The main objective of this Bill is to protect people’s privacy through law.”

He added: “In today’s world information is on people’s hands, so we should have the law which would see person’s information is used upon his or her consent,” he said.

On her part, Ms Stella Fiyao (Special Seats-CHADEMA), expressed hopes that the expected law is going to be a remedy to challenges facing the people regarding their personal information.

This law is also going to attract more investors who previously were running away due to lack of this law, she pointed out.

“With regard to administrative fines, we need to know specific amount of fine for each particular offence to assure fairness to people who commit offence. I ask my fellow MPs to pass this law which is going to benefit us,” she said.

Eng Mwanaisha Ulenge (Special Seats-CCM), argued that having that Bill shows how the government looks at the country’s future.

“I commend the government for this move which would guarantee our nation protection of information in this era of fast technological growth,” she said.

“As we move to digital economy, the law will come at the right time,” Eng Ulenge stated.

Mr Ally Jumbe (Kyela-CCM) said: “Having the law we are going to build huge respect in the world. Our personal information is now the business, so we should ensure that our information is right and protected.”

WHAT THE PASSED BILL RECOMMENDS

   Enactment of the Personal Data Protection Act 2022.

   To establish a Commission for the Protection of Personal Data.

   To strengthen personal data processed by the government’s agencies and private institutions

   To put procedures for the collection, use, and storage of personal data.

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