By Emma Elebeke
As part of measures by the government to bring all IT-based activities of its agencies and parastatals to a single platform, the federal government said it is set to ensure full migration by all its ministries, departments and agencies from their existing domain names to Nigeria’s Code Top Level domain name, .ng, both for their websites and official emails.
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who made this known in a recent event in Lagos said the decision was part of the current measures by the government to bring all IT-based activities of the MDAs to a single platform thereby engendering a connected government that allows for sharing of facilities and information among government’s parastatals.
According to the minister, the ministry would use the medium to acomplisg the dream of achieving true e-government in the country.
“Another thing we are looking at is Information and Communications Technology in government. I can’t stand here and preach to you about the importance of IT development in the industry without telling you about what we are doing in government about using ICT as a means of transparently administering governance and engaging the citizenry,” she said.
Johnson sfurther revealed that her ministry was already working with Galaxy Backbone Limited, an agency under the ministry to ensure a connected government, where information can be shared.
“As I speak today, we are putting in place a message and collaboration system to facilitate a connected government. All MDAs will be on .gov.ng. From next year when you get an email from a government official, it will be a .com.ng address. I have already started using mine,” she said.
According to the minister, e-government is a major area that the ministry was currently focusing on in its effort to make sure that government engages the people in meaningful ventures.
For her, Nigeria has a very ambitious e-government programme but hoped that the ministry would launch one of the biggest call centres in Nigeria before the end of 2012, which would basically be used as a basis of engaging government and its citizens.
“We had a stakeholders’ forum in September, 2011 and we will have another shortly after the new ICT policy that we just posted on our website. We have set ambitious targets for ourselves. Those targets are tangible. We have talked about increasing ICT contribution to Gross Domestic Product.
“Today, we have ICT contributing 3.5 per cent although in the last publication of National Bureau of Statistics, it had gone up to 4 per cent. What we want to do is achieve at least 2 per cent increase in ICT contribution to GDP by 2015,” she added.
The target according to her is to boost mobile penetration, covering the whole of this country with voice penetration, even with 90 million subscriber base.
Also, the minister said government expected to move from about 58 per cent penetration to 80 per cent mobile penetration. She said although Nigeria currently have about 33 million internet users, some are occasional users.
“By making our broadband infrastructure more ubiquitous and more robust, we believe we can increase the number of internet users to 70 million. It will create an opportunity to provide jobs for our young people very quickly. It will create an opportunity to provide services to both the local industries and offshore industries as well.”
She noted that Nigeria was ripe and well positioned to create a domestic call center industry, noting that call centre was one of the initiatives the ministry’s was looking at as a means of job creation.