The Federal Government has said its stance on compulsory clearance of all Information Technology (IT) projects by Ministries, Departments and Agencies remains unwavering and would not hesitate to punish any government official that fails to follow the rule. President Muhammadu Buhari who echoed this at the opening of e-Nigeria conference in Abuja, directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to forward the list of any defaulting MDAs to the government for sanction.
The President said the essence of the IT clearance directive was to ensure that government’s ICT procurements are transparent and are aligned with government’s IT shared vision and policy. He said the policy was also aimed at saving costs through promotion of shared services and to avoid duplication, ensure interoperability of IT systems and improve efficiency across government. He added that the government through the policy would be able to enforce the patronage of indigenous companies where capacity exists and uphold the highest standards for service delivery.
“In this administration’s efforts at ensuring full realisation of these objectives, a new Circular was issued in August this year, to reiterate this directive. NITDA is expected to work with all relevant government agencies to ensure full compliance to this directive. Defaulters of IT Clearance among the public establishment are to be reported to government. We are serious about fighting corruption” President Buhari said.
Meanwhile, the President commended ICT stakeholders in the country over their efforts at forging strategic partnerships towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an export hub for ICT hardware in Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, he applauded NITDA’s efforts aimed at reorganising the registration and certification process for OEMs to ensure adherence to world class standards as well as guarantee quality and durable devices. “The Agency is encouraged to work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance to these new regulatory instruments”.
“Furthermore, the Agency’s work on the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision that focuses on the development of Digital Infrastructure, Education Reform, Skills Development and Research and Development as well as supporting the ecosystem is highly commendable. We are made to understand that the Agency worked with relevant stakeholders in developing the document. We encourage the Agency to use its regulatory instruments in ensuring full socialisation and implementation of this document
Speaking earlier in his welcome address at the conference with the theme: “Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies Through Effective Regulations”, the Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Panatami said the agency had been actively engaging all Agencies of government and have developed guidelines on IT Project Clearance for the MDAs. “Through our IT Project Clearance activity, we have saved the government over 13 billion Naira. We are also being proactive, offering advisory to MDAs at the early stages of their budgeting cycle to ensure that whatever project they propose provides value for money, avoids duplication and eschews waste” he said.
Highlighting government’s efforts at boosting ICT’s contributions to the nation’s economy, Pantami noted that over the years, Nigeria has depended on natural resources for wealth but the Federal Government now has deliberate policies to wean the economy off oil and rather focus us on human resources. “This is why the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan of the government prioritizes human capital development. We are confident that with a critical mass of ICT savvy Nigerians we will develop the type of digital economy that can rival oil as the main stay of our economy” he said. Pantami added that Nigeria is also endowed with a ready pool of young “digital natives” that can support the process.