President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the nation’s public service to embrace the use of ICT so as to effectively drive government programmes and policies and foster the digital economy in Nigeria.
President Buhari said this at a national conference on Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies through Effective Regulations, organised by the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) in collaboration with eNigeria at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
Mr Buhari explained that the ICT “has performed well in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by recording 11.81 per cent in the second quarter of 2018″.
”This administration’s commitment towards delivering good governance and development to our people is as strong as ever, considering the huge role ICT is playing in the successes recorded in the past three and a half years.
”You may recall that in my address at last year’s event, I raised a number of issues relating to ICT’s role in fostering the digital economy in Nigeria, including the sector’s contribution of about 10 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
”I am pleased to note that this has been taken seriously and stakeholders’ efforts resulted in ICT emerging as one of the key performers of the second quarter of 2018 by recording 11.81 per cent growth,” he said.
Mr Buhari also flayed the over-reliance on foreign hardware which he noted has resulted in the importation of about 80 per cent of the country’s ICT hardware products.
He explained that there are efforts in place to ensure that Nigeria becomes the leading export hub for ICT hardware in Sub-Saharan Africa.
”We challenged the country’s reliance on foreign hardware resulting in the importation of about 80 per cent of ICT hardware through local distributors of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) by MDAs and other government establishments. We stressed the need for concerted efforts aimed at reversing the trend.
”It is pleasing to note the efforts by all relevant stakeholders in forging strategic partnerships towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an export hub for ICT hardware in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Mr Buhari said.
Leading Export Hub
Similarly, he identified efforts taken by NITDA itself to ensure Nigeria becomes a leading export Hub for ICT in Africa.
”The efforts of NITDA aimed at reorganising the registration and certification process for OEMs to ensure adherence to world-class standards as well as guarantee quality and durable devices are highly commendable.
”The agency is encouraged to work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance with these new regulatory instruments”
Mr Buhari also commended NITDA impact of ICT in strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure, education reform, skills development and research also its support for the ecosystem,
”Furthermore, the agency’s work on the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision that focuses on the development of digital infrastructure, education reform, skills development and research and development as well as supporting the ecosystem is highly commendable.
”I understand that the agency worked with relevant stakeholders in developing the document. I continue to encourage the agency to use its regulatory instruments in ensuring full socialisation and implementation of this document.”
He, however, urged the public service to adopt the current digital world strategies so as to effectively drive government programs and policies.
”We emphasised the need for the public service to be highly competitive,
innovative and digitally-enabled to deliver public services and effectively drive government programs and policies,” Mr Buhari added.
According to him, NITDA and other relevant agencies had already taken steps in the drafting and development of the new policies through a series of stakeholder engagements.
”I note that NITDA and other relevant government agencies have taken this up by creating the enabling environment through the development of policies, frameworks, standards and guidelines.
”I am aware that some of these regulatory instruments have been subjected to critical scrutiny and revision through a series of stakeholder engagements.
”Efforts should be intensified at making them public as well as sensitising public servants and the general public about the value of these regulatory instruments.
Impact On TSA, IPPIS
Mr Buhari noted that ICT had made impact on the use of policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN)
”The enforcement of the use of the policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the impact they have made on the administration’s public financial management reforms.
“Also, the consolidation of accounts and elimination of ghost workers that resulted in a combined monthly savings of about N24.7 billion, the TSA facilitated the recovery of huge sums of money including the recent N1.6 billion from a single account.”
Mr Buhari highlighted other achievements made via use of ICT.
”You may recall the issuance of Presidential Executive Order 003 mandating all ministries, departments and agencies to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services, in order to strengthen its implementation as well as provide clear policy directions.
”Presidential Executive Order 005 was also issued in February this year. This is part of the administration’s deliberate efforts and strong commitment at strengthening the role of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country’s socio-economic development.
”Of particular note is NITDA’s initiative focused on the registration of IT contractors and service providers in collaboration with other regulatory bodies with a special emphasis on competencies. This will ensure the delivery of quality IT projects, as well as facilitate the development of indigenous IT companies in line with global best practices.
”You may also recall the remark about NITDA’s efforts at enforcing the Federal Government’s directive on ensuring that all ICT projects in the country are cleared by it before implementation.
”This will ensure that government’s ICT procurements are transparent, aligned with government’s IT shared vision and policy, lead to cost savings through the promotion of shared services, avoid duplication, ensure compatibility of IT systems and improve efficiency in government business.”
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