By Emmanuel Odihi
The Director-General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr. Isa Pantami has stated that Single Treasury Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) has saved Nigeria N4 billion and that it saves Nigeria N20billion monthly. He stated this Yesterday May, 22, at the opening of the stakeholders workshop/engagement on the Draft “Nigeria e-Government Inter-operability Framework(Ne-GIF) in ABUJA
Dr. Pantami said that as a developing Country Nigeria has recorded successes in some area with the adoption of ICT and these areas are the TSA, IPPIS, BVN and others and that the adoption of ICT in in these areas has saved the Country N4b and that it saves the country N20b monthly. He said that it has also helped to eliminate ghost workers from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s).
“Nigeria as a developing country has her own share of good experience of e-Government or ICT adoption for streamlining and improving governance. Such good initiatives where Nigeria has recorded success in using ICT to drive government policies include Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Bank Verification Number (BVN), e-Taxation, e-passport, e-wallet for farmers among others. The implementation of TSA and IPPIS/BVN saves Nigeria N4.7 Billion and N20 Billion respectively every month and assist in the elimination of ghost workers in various MDAs”, he stated
He also stated that Government’s Digital Transformation Agenda led the Management under his leadership to come up with a Strategic Road Map based on seven-point focus areas: Capacity Building, IT Regulation, Digital Job Creation, Government Digital Service Promotion, Local Content Development and Promotion, Cyber Security and Digital Inclusion. At least five of these focus areas are geared towards Government Digital Transformation. They are capacity building, government digital services promotion, cybersecurity, IT regulation and local content development and promotion. In other to achieve this he there is need to develop a framework for interoperability of IT infrastructure and applications in the country since there is none at the moment.
This he said was based on the responsibilities given to it by Section 6c of the NITDA Act, 2007 which states that the Agency shall develop guidelines for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods in all sectors of the economy where the use of electronic communication may improve the
“There is a need for a framework that guarantees interoperability of IT infrastructure and applications. Regrettably, Nigeria, with all her efforts at deploying IT infrastructure and/or e-Government systems, is yet to develop one. Therefore, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) whose primary mandate is to regulate and develop IT in the country as stipulated in the NITDA Act of 2007, has developed the draft Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF) to close the identified gap.
“The Agency is presenting the draft Framework before you as our major stakeholders for inputs, comments and corrections. Most importantly, we implore you to own the Framework and ensure its smooth implementation and compliance. Developing the Framework is one thing, compliance and implementation is another. If we all believe that Interoperability Framework is essential for Government Digital Transformation in Nigeria, I implore us to put resources together for its implementation. It requires strong political and leadership will by MDAs and collective commitment by all stakeholders in the Public and Private sectors, he stated.
According to Dr. Isa advanced phases of service innovation cannot be achieved without integrating many back-office functions. For instance, registering a Limited by Guarantee Company in Nigeria requires visit to at least three institutions: CAC, FIRS, and Attorney General of the Federation physically and/or through their portals. This is inefficient, inconvenient, time consuming and makes citizens pay more. Through robust e-Government applications, it is possible to make the transactions and get the service delivered on a single portal. Citizen-centered service delivery involves breaking up silos, integrating across agencies, innovating new ways of doing business, and creating a service-focused culture. The main difficulty in achieving advanced digital service delivery in Government to Government (G2G) is the interoperability requirements of IT systems of various government agencies.
“For instance, compliance with Executive Order 001 requires advanced G2G. A provision in the Executive Order 001 stipulates that “an MDA that requires input documentation, requirements or conditions from another MDA in order to deliver products and services on applications within the originating MDA’s remit or mandate, including permits, licenses, waivers, tax documentation, filings and approvals shall only request a photocopy or other prima facie proof from the applicant. It shall be the responsibility of the originating MDA to seek verification or certification directly from the issuing MDA”.
“How can this happen seamlessly when information is not digitally shared in an efficient manner between MDAs that are involved and this requires advanced G2G to provide the needed services to businesses and citizens”. He emphasized.
He concluded by saying that government’s digital service promotion and IT Regulation are targeted at transforming the way digital services are provided by government.
“Specifically, Government Digital Service Promotion and IT Regulation are targeted at transforming the way government provides digital services thereby making GDT a reality. This has informed our decision to set up a dedicated department- e-Government Development and Regulation to champion the cause of Government Digital Transformation. The department has an endorsed Strategy as a guide and template towards achieving the desired GDT. The Strategy is a by-product of the Agency’s Strategic Road Map and Ne-GIF is a critical component of GDT agenda”. He concluded.