OPINION: Pantami and his traducers

By Emmanuel Elebeke-Abuja

The Federal government has called on the Digital Technology Technical Working Groups (DTTWGs) to support the Federal Government’s initiatives on achieving a digital Nigeria.

The ministerMinister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami made the call on Tuesday while declaring open the Digitisation Hangout with DTTWGs and Technology/Industry Ecosystem Players organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja.

The groups were first inaugurated in August 2020 with the purpose of facilitating the implementation of IT and digital economy-related projects in the government.
The DTTWGs members were drawn from Federal Public Institutions(FPIs) and served as the critical governance structure for implementing the Nigeria e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in the public sector.

The minister asserted that the digitization transformation will fundamentally transform the way the public sector operates, creates value, and delivers services to customers.

Pantami who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Bitrus Nabasu , added that at the centre of this transformation is human capital development, without which nothing can be achieved.

The minister, who described Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) and the public servants as the engine room of economic growth, said the innovative use of digital technologies through empowered human capital makes the difference between the digital economy haves and have-nots.

‘‘The digital transformation in the public service is a key part of our strategy for developing our indigenous digital economy. It will fundamentally transform the way the public sector operates, creates value, and delivers services to customers.

‘‘Digital ongoing transformation is not just a buzz word that technology professionals use. Rather, it is a deliberate effort to improve business processes through the integration of digital technologies and this is gaining wide acceptance around the world. A 2020 Report by Deloitte indicates that digital transformation can help accelerate progress towards enterprise goals such as financial returns, workforce diversity, and environmental targets by 22%.

‘‘According to Gartner, global IT spending would reach $3.9 trillion in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to act as a catalyst for digital transformation in almost every major industry. The World Economic Forum also said digital transformation across the globe can lead to benefits in the region of $100 trillion between now and 2025.

‘‘At the centre of this transformation is human capital development, without which nothing can be achieved. So, the importance of collaboration and co-creation between the Government and the technology industry players is a critical determinant of a digital nation. These two requirements served as our motive for conceiving the concept of establishing Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DTTWGs) in the FPIs.’’

The DT-TWG is a critical instrument for the implementation of all pillars of NDEPS. DT-TWGs are expected to support the Federal Government in developing citizen-friendly digital mechanisms to support service innovations and digital transformation for a Digital Nigeria.

DT-TWGs are required to give preference to indigenous digital solutions while making IT decisions in their respective organisations in line with Executive Orders 003 and 005 of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

According Pantami, the ministry has engineered some strategic initiatives to build a foundation and evolve an effective digital transformation journey in the public sector for a digital Nigeria. Among which are: IT clearance policy drive: this has saved the Federal Government of Nigeria billions on Naira which would have gone into failed projects; Capacity Building for CEOs targeted at creating awareness on the importance of digitization in meeting the FPIs’ mandates; Indigenous IT Companies Registration to ensure we have capable service providers for public sector IT projects and Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF): Provides the framework for seamless sharing IT infrastructure, processes, and exchange of information across FPIs among others.

While calling for establishment of a digitization hangout between DTTWGs and the technology ecosystem players, the Minister said there should be a rethink in how public institutions do business and deliver public value and experience to customers.

He also charged public institutions to start looking for innovative ways to leverage digital to deliver value better than ever before.

In doing this, he said both the Government and the private sector capabilities are required to create and deliver the expected value to citizens.

He however, implored participants to take advantage of this opportunity to examine all our initiatives, share your experiences, and let us co-create ideas to bring public sector digitization and the digital economy to the next level.

“I call on the Chairmen of DTTWGs to take their role seriously, work closely with NITDA and your CEOs to ensure we effectively digitize our Government.”

“We need to think globally act locally. For the industry and technology ecosystem players here, I implore you to bring the best into this process and let us work together.”
Earlier in his address, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, mallam Kashifu Abdullahi said the hangout aimed to push for value co-creation between the Government and its key stakeholders.
He noted that NITDA has made progress in the last five years towards Digital Transformation by embarking on series of initiatives to drive the adoption of e-Government, digitisation of Government processes, and improve the maturity of the country’s digital capabilities to match the realities of the global digital economy.

‘‘These initiatives are regulatory and developmental and are ultimately geared towards building a solid foundation for digital economy development and a proudly digital Nigeria of our dreams.

‘‘We at NITDA believe that realising the objectives of these documents requires appropriate human capability to ensure effective implementation. This puts the competence and ability of professional public servants to utilise digital technologies at the forefront of the digital transformation agenda.

‘‘Also, we acknowledge our role and responsibility of enabling a conducive environment for cooperation between the Government and the technology ecosystem for the digital transformation initiatives to succeed. In Nigeria, we expect a drastic surge in digital transformation initiatives in the public sector in the coming years to keep up with the pace as the world is experiencing a sudden digital shift.’’

In her remarks, Managing Director of MainOne Technology Company, Mrs Funke Opeke, said they were engaging with the government to ensure that Nigerian data was domiciled and developed in the country.
“Data is very valuable, for marketing, for all kinds of business development,for analysis and we want to see more Nigerian data stored in Nigeria.
“By storing the country’s data indigenously, jobs would be created and the country would have sovereignty over its data and as well contribute in growing the economy.”
Also speaking, the Country Director of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Mr Woochan Chang, informed that the Korean government had earlier signed an agreement with the federal government to fund a 13 Million Dollar project which will focus on capacity building in Public Institutions.


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