By Emmanuel Elebeke
The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA yesterday called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to show commitment in protecting the interest of Nigerian consumers.
Director General of the national NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, who made the call spoke at the Public Sector Consumer Protection Forum held on Thursday in Abuja.
He specifically charged them to cooperate with NITDA in ensuring full compliance in award and execution of IT contracts.
Inuwa said the aim of the forum was to present the Framework for Information Technology Service Level agreement for MDAs and a platform where public sector consumers and service providers share their challenges and recommend solutions for information technology service delivery.
He explained that the SLA framework draft document was for stakeholders’ contributions and to seek their support for joint and successful implementation.
Prior to 2016, the Agency did not have any instrument that stipulates a clear process for issuance of regulatory instruments. A Rulemaking Process Regulation was therefore issued on 25th January, 2019.
The Rulemaking Process is a subsidiary legislation that provides clear procedure for issuance of the Agency’s regulatory instruments.
According to the agency DG, it involves analytical and critical thinking approach that NITDA is sure if followed will give the country stakeholders’ friendly, developmental and implementable ICT regulations.
‘‘In a bid to create the necessary enabling environment and build solid foundation for digital transformation in Nigeria, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in the last two years has focused on developing appropriate regulatory instruments- standards, guidelines and frameworks. For instance, in 2019 alone, NITDA had launched and signed off five regulatory instruments and we have presented five additional documents to stakeholders for inputs and contributions.
‘‘All these instruments were issued to address various challenges facing us as a nation. It is no longer gainsaying that our regulations are developmental. This is evident in the upward contributions of ICT to the country’s Q4 2018 GDP which rose to 13.63%.
‘‘Today, we are also presenting before you a Framework for Information Technology Service Level Agreement for MDAs is part of the program for this Public-Sector Consumer Protection Forum. Your professional contributions will definitely add value to the SLA framework document and recommendations in the Public-sector consumer protection forum. The draft framework for Information Technology Service Level Agreement for MDAs was developed because of the wide scale failure of IT projects executed within the MDA.
‘‘The framework is to guide the MDAs in defining the scope, liability, limitation and nature of IT projects for the government. The framework addresses technical issues that are germane to the success of IT projects within MDAs’, said Inuwa.’
With the framework in place, he assured that consumer protection will be a is a win-win Situation for consumers and providers. According to him, the consumer should be able to have access to correct unbiased information about the products and services they purchase. This he said will enable them to make informed choices based on their needs and help them to avoid being mistreated or misled by the seller or service providers.
‘‘The Public-Sector Consumer Protection Forum is a platform where public sector consumers share challenges and experiences with Service providers and make recommendations. NITDA therefore need to protect the users of information technology products against substandard IT products and services in Nigeria.
‘‘The Objectives of the Public consumer protection forum is therefore to achieve improved standards of information technology products and services in Public sector; improved quality of information technology service delivery in MDAs; create a platform where public sector consumers and service providers share Challenges and experiences; provide a protective platform for consumers of Information technology products and services in public sector; identify the major challenges the MDAs face with Information technology service providers; provide solutions to identified IT problems in the MDAs and protect and safeguard MDAs rights and interest in the Information technology industry.
In her goodwill message, representative of Federal Completion and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, Mrs. Teniade Medupin said it was a good thing for NITDA would come up such initiative to seek stakeholders’ input on how to put in place a framework that would guarantee the protection of Nigerian consumers.
She charged all MDAs to maintain the culture of protecting consumer interest and also called for the growth of indigenous services so that we can grow the economy.
In a presentation, NITDA noted that the wide scale failure of IT projects executed within MDAs necessitated the development of the framework to guide MDAs in defining the scope, liability, limitation and nature of IT projects for the government.
However, it explained that the framework addresses technical issues that are germane to the success or otherwise of IT projects within MDAs.