Ease of Doing Business: NITDA to streamline operations of government agencies

Director general National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Pantami (middle) cutting tape to open the Nigerian pavilion at GITEX 2018 in Dubai, UAE on Sunday, with him is the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO National Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Danbatta (left)
Director general National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Pantami (middle) cutting tape to open the Nigerian pavilion at GITEX 2018 in Dubai, UAE on Sunday, with him is the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO National Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Danbatta (left)

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said it is working towards synchronising online presence of government agencies to provide for harmony and ease of doing business in the country.

The Director General of the agency, Isa Pantami, stated this while opening Nigeria’s pavilion at the 18th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX 2018) holding in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

He said if implemented, the e-government framework will “harmonise and bring synergy” among platforms of agencies to provide a “one-stop shop” and make frameworks of individual agencies compatible with one another.

He said with the single window platform, there will be savings on time and cost and this provides for simplicity in doing business.

“It will give you only one address. If you go online, you can finalise all your documentations. You can register your company, you can process your visa, you can pay tax through same window,” he said.

In addition to ease of doing business, Mr Pantami said the single framework will also help government to cut down on ICT expenditures.

He said his agency is already working in that regard by reducing government’s procurement on IT programmes, as agencies are made to share softwares with one another.

Mr Pantami said a number of Nigerian agencies are fully IT-complaint, saying the challenge is harmonisation of the various infrastructures to allow for easy accessibility investors and other users.

“We discover that many MDAs are doing excellently well but (for) most of them their systems are what we call stand-alone. For example, FIRS system is not in anyway related to that of the Corporate Affairs Commission. That of Corporate Affairs Commission will not electronically recognise that of Customs,” he said.

The NITDA director-general also listed the benefits of Nigeria’s participation in the IT exhibition, saying the event would help in attracting investments in addition to helping Nigerian startups participating in the exhibition to hook-up with potential investors.

He said it is the duty of the agency to sensitise IT companies and entrepreneurs of benefits of investing in Nigeria.

“Recently we have had many policies on ease of doing business. You can register a company within 24 hours, you can get visa on arrival, we have tax holidays in ICT, so these are some of the things we try to explain to potential investors in order to come to Nigeria and invest,” he said.

“We come to GITEX with startups, that is to showcase the young innovators we have; how our youth are coming up with good ideas in ICT. So, if you come here you showcase the potentials you have in Nigeria, you will get some world-class ICT companies that are willing to support your start-up,” he explained.

Mr Pantami said the agency has ongoing discussions with organisations from Malaysia, China and the United States that were carried over from the last edition of the exhibition.

NITDA, he said, expects similar level of enthusiasm from investors during this year’s event.

A PREMIUMS TIMES reporter who visited stands of Nigerian startups at the exhibition saw representatives of IT companies interacting with the innovators.

One of the Nigerian innovators, Emmanuel Ezenwere, said he is in talks with a South African company interested in investing in his startup that uses drones to solve emergency medical supplies.

Ahmad Sadiq of Wattlinq also told PREMIUM TIMES that an investor from Oman has indicated interest in his innovation which manages generation and consumption of electricity.

Also, a Dubai-based investor has picked interest in Geoffrey Weli-Wosu’s blockchain technology idea of real estate administration.

The three innovators are among the six innovators sponsored by NITDA to the five-day exhibition.

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