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‘How FG Loses $2bn Annually’

By Rabiyat Usman

An Information Technology professional has revealed that the, Federal Government may be losing $2 billion annually due to duplication of biometrics data collection by government agencies. A professional of Information Technology unit of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Jacob Edo, disclosed this during a press conference that led to the launching of a book titled: Digital Transformation;Evolving a Digitally Enabled Nigerian Public Service which was held in Nicon Luxury, Abuja.
The professional said “biometric data collection is been proliferated all around the country, about 23 institutions are basically collecting biometrics and they are not interconnected to each other, what happens is that we have waste, duplications and multiplications of government efforts which leads to policy conflicts or collision. Federal Government may be losing $2 billion annually, funds used in the management of infrastructure for the biometrics including the money paid to consultants may have accrued to this lump sum.” he added.
Edo speaking to DAILY ASSET said that “top among the issues that come to mind are urbanisation; We all know about people moving from villages to cities. By 2050, Lagos will be one of the 10 mega cities in the world, unemployment issue is over 20% . Currently, issue of governance readiness in terms of digitalization, Nigeria currently scores 171/192 according to United Nations statistics published 2015. If you look at all of this there is a big question? What are we not doing right?”
Edo said “I wanted to properly position government policies to alleviate the growing poverty in the country. By re-invigorating Nigerian public service, the resultant effect should rub off positively on the populace,” he said. The implementation would enhance wealth-creating opportunities and create values for national social and cultural goals”.
Edo speaking with DAILY ASSET on the duplication of biometric data collection said “the country should look at disharmonizing the database for identity, that starts from the policy not really the computer, starts from the law, you say this, for example, this agency or institution is responsible for collecting biometrics, it’s the agency’s responsibility, once given, it can be shared with other organizations, in other words it is the same in all the organizations, that’s the law in developed countries like United States”. The professionaldecried the way digital services are rendered in the country as most of the agencies are doing it for themselves and none of them are interconnected, stressing the need for a synergy among the agencies such that data collected would be the same in all the agencies.
The author, Mr. Jacob Edo said the book was written to enlighten readers, based on his knowledge and experience in technology about the emerging advantages of public service digitalization. He said that some of the challenges have been itemized into three parts, including reforms in the Nigerian Civil Service/Public service, looked into the public service in other developed country especially Kenya who are far ahead in the digitalization of their economy while the third part talked about what could be done to make the public service more efficient.
He said to improve easy access, bring data to the people and reduce prices of data services, there is a need for government to invest in fibre reel adding that the fibre reel would bring data closer to the people and it is not too expensive if we want to do it.

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