By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA- The federal government says it is developing an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) to automate the entire government processes.
The Minister of Communication, Barr. Adebayo Shittu said that the EDMS would automate the entire processes in the entire governance system by making the government to be more transparent, effective and efficient in the delivery of services to the citizens, which is in-line with the objective of Open Government Partnership (OGP).
The minister disclosed this during the 3rd National Steering Committee meeting on OGP held at Sheraton Hotel Abuja.
According to him, the Successive government in the country have recognized the need to use ICT to transform governance but implementation has been with mixed results.
He said, “The current administration has given a new impetus to it through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). The plan envisages a reduction of cost of governance and leveraging technology to improve public service delivery through the implementation of e-Government across MDAs”.
Barrister Shittu said that ICT has contributed immensely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, which is put at about 9.8% in June 2016 compared to 6.9% in 2012. He noted that Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in this sector has increased from $32b in 2015 to $38b in 2016. He added that, despite these successes, the potential of this sector is still not fully harnessed.
.The Minister pointed out that ICT Roadmap, which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), provides an outline for the development of the ICT sector for the next three years. It also provides paths and initiatives, which would transform the sector when implemented.
In his words, “The Ministry, through the e-Government department, launched an initiative that involves the identification of key business processes that relates to the delivery of services to citizens by MDAs. This would be accomplished by deploying ICTs to provide better response to citizens’ demands, improvement in service delivery and making government more efficient and more responsive as the citizens would be engaged”.
He stated that the system is currently being introduced in the Ministry of Power, Works & Housing, Ministry of Budget & Planning as well as my Ministry. Once it is successfully implemented and adopted in these Ministries, it would be deployed to other MDAs according to funds availability.
The Minister recalled the Open Data Initiative of the Ministry which led to the development of an Open Data Portal (ODP) in 2015. The ODP is for MDAs to upload their non-sensitive datasets on the portal for easy access to the citizens in accordance with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
Barrister Shittu said the Ministry has successfully conducted an Open Data Booth Camp in Lagos where citizens were sensitized on the benefits of Open Data and what it could be used for. The Ministry has also conducted an Open Data Action Plan meeting where an Open Data Action Plan (2018-2020) was approved. There is also a planned National Open Data Conference in Enugu in which a draft National Open Data Policy would be discussed.
In addition, the e-Government master plan that was developed by the Ministry is at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) awaiting approval. It is a comprehensive strategy, which would be used by the government in re-engineering the e-Government agenda of the Ministry with a view to directing the holistic and citizen-centric deployment of ICT in governance.
The Minister stated that the rationale of the master plan is to strengthen transparency, efficiency and quality of public administration service in line with the vision of ERGP. The implementation of the master plan is a milestone for the attainment of the commitments in the NAP because it seeks to develop applications and systems that are critical to the NAP of the OGP.
Earlier, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami announced that Nigeria was recently admitted into OGP international steering committee.
He added that recent OGP activities in the country revealed that they had completed one year of implementation of National action plan.
He said that it is critical for MDAs and No-State actors to invest extra resources and time to ensure that Nigeria is not rated below average and hope that National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Ministry of Communications would support the development of various technology and innovation platforms as identified in the OGP National plan.