BY EMEKA AGINAM
EFFORT of the country to become a digital economy has started yielding the expected results as the latest United Nations e-government development ranking showed an upward improvement by 21 points.
Nigeria rose to 141 out of 193 countries rated in the UN Global e-government Development Index for 2014.
Similarly, the country was also ranked 97 in the e-Participation index, an improvement of 22 points up from 75 in 2012. It would be recalled that Nigeria was ranked 162 in 2012.
The upward movement of Nigeria in the 2014 ranking is a welcome development, an indication that shows that progress is being made in the efforts of the Nigerian Government through the Ministry of Communication Technology to enable it promote e-governance in Nigeria
The Ministry has embarked on initiatives to deploy ICT to drive transparency and efficiency in governance and public service delivery.
To enable internal efficiency in government, the Ministry is promoting ICT in Government-by facilitating e-government, which enhances transparency, efficiency, productivity and citizen engagement.
The ’Getting Government Online’ initiative, the Ministry is facilitating is geared at ensuring that government deploys technology as a mechanism to transform the way government operates and enhance the effectiveness of government service delivery for the benefit of its citizens.
This has led to the implementation of two flagship projects, namely the Government Service Portal (GSP) and Government Contact Centre (GCC).
The Government Service Portal (GSP) provides a single window technology access by citizens and other stakeholders to government services being provided by various Ministries Departments and Agencies MDAs. It is multi-featured and includes collaborative channels that deliver core content management capabilities.
The primary objectives of deploying GSP are to create a single point of entry to Federal Government services, enhance accountability and improve the delivery and quality of public services through technology-enabled civic engagement (mobile technology, Facebook, Twitter, Interactive Mapping, Blogs, Wiki etc), transform government processes to increase public administration efficiency, increase end-user productivity by integrating many different services or data access paths of MDAs – under a consistent presentation standard and mainstream some of the government’s non-sensitive datasets on the portal.
The phase one of GSP included the automation of 10 government processes from the Federal Ministry of Education; Federal Ministry of Health; Federal Ministry of Agriculture; Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology.
Some of the processes automated are Drug authentication, Farmer’s Registration, Registration and Accreditation of Seed companies, Seed Import and Export Permit, Trademark registration, Patent registration, Acquisition of License for Class type license and Acquisition of individual type license, Spectrum License etc
The Ministry is currently automating the pre-incorporation and post-incorporation processes of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and online payment on the Government Service Portal. The Ministry is also setting up Government Contact Centres, which will facilitate efficient response to citizen requests through a two-tier response approach. The Contact Centre, which will be located in the six geopolitical zones of the country is planned to house robust databases as well as accommodate 150 operator seats.
Before the creation of the Ministry of Communication Technology in 2011, most MDAs did not have domain names.
But in line with its mandate to improve the quality of public service delivery, all websites of Ministries across the federation have been migrated to a standard domain name at ‘.gov.ng’.