By Emmanuel Elebeke & Glory Odizuru
President Mohammadu Buhari says the administration has saved N16.8 billion from government-funded ICT projects in one year.
President Buhari disclosed this on Thursday while declaring open the e-Nigeria 2019 Conference on the Nigerian Digital Economy holding in Abuja.
According to him, the savings followed his directive at the e-Nigeria 2018 conference, where he directed that all government-funded ICT projects must be reviewed and cleared by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The idea he said is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government procurement processes.
President Buhari, who acknowledged the contribution of ICT to the economic growth noted that digitisation of key activities in public services, such as the use of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) has enabled us to save cost and fight corruption.
He, however, warned that we must remain mindful of its threats while we savour the numerous benefits.
‘‘I am informed that through this directive, the government has saved over 16.8 billion Naira. I want to encourage the Ministry and NITDA to sustain this tempo. Our recent introduction of the Nigerian E-government Masterplan will further consolidate our successes to date and increase interoperability among the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
‘‘A key requirement of the E-government Masterplan is for all government institutions to create a Digital Transformation Technical Working Group that will work with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to ensure seamless and coordinated implementation of projects, programs and policies.
‘‘The Nigerian e-Government Interoperability Framework, the Enterprise Architecture and the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation are in place and all Ministries, Departments and Agencies are expected to comply with these policies. I have therefore directed the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to develop training and sensitization programs that will be rolled out across all key MDAs with immediate effect to ensure seamless implementation of the Masterplan.
President Buhari, who emphasized the importance of ICT to economic building said the sector contributed 13.85% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria in the second quarter of 2019, a performance he said indicates the importance and potential of the ICT sector to our job creation and economic diversification agenda
Globally, the Digital Economy is expanding at a very fast pace. In just a few years, this platform has transitioned from being a luxury to an absolute necessity. It is in recognition of this fact that we decided to re-designate the Federal Ministry of Communications as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy with a mandate to develop and implement a harmonized and well-coordinated digital economy policy and strategy for Nigeria.
‘‘The second-quarter report by the National Bureau of Statistics for 2019 showed that the Information and Communications Technology sector contributed an impressive 13.85% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria. This clearly shows the importance and potential of the ICT sector to our job creation and economic diversification agenda
‘‘Already, Nigerian ICT startups are leaving their mark on the global stage. For example, at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), a Nigerian Artificial Intelligence solution provider, Chiniki Guards, took first place, beating 750 contestants from 73 countries. We shall continue to encourage and support such digital entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions for local and global challenges.
‘‘Of course, as we celebrate the successes and explore the opportunities in this sector, we must remain mindful of its threats. We all know how the use of unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards by terrorists is a key national security threat.’’
On the use of improperly registered Sim cards, he encouraged all Nigerians to ensure that their phones are properly registered, stating that his priority is to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians.
‘‘I am informed that over 9.2 million SIM cards have either been normalized, blocked or deactivated in less than 40 days due to improper registration. We encourage all Nigerians to ensure that their phones are properly registered. As a Government, our priority is to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians.
‘‘You will all recall that at e-Nigeria 2018 conference, we directed that all government-funded ICT projects must be reviewed and cleared by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Our goal was to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government procurement processes,’’ he stated.