By Rabiyat Usman:
President Muhammadu Buhari has every reason to be happy with what the telecommunication technology has done for the nation in saving wastages. President Buhari said recently in Abuja that his APC-led government was leveraging on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the enforcement of Bank Verification Number (BVN) which have saved the nation N24.7 billion monthly.
The President revealed this when he declared open the 2017 eNigeria Conference, organised by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja, recently. The three-day conference had the theme: “Fostering Digital Economy through Local Content Development and Effective Regulations.”
According to President Buhari, the TSA policy has also facilitated transparency, accountability and ease of transactions and payments between government and businesses as well as government and citizens.
“We have done a lot to transform our government, especially in the areas of strategy, policies and digital infrastructure investments.
“You may recall that on assumption of office, we enforced the policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA). Today, we are all witnesses to the impact it has made on our financial management.
“We have so far consolidated over 20,000 accounts, resulting into about N24.7 billion monthly savings.
“In addition, the policy facilitated transparency, accountability and ease of transactions and payments between government and businesses as well as government and citizens.
“Another initiative leveraging on ICT and making huge impact on the economy is the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and Bank Verification Number (BVN).
“Its implementation has helped to eliminate the menace of ghost workers, thereby reducing waste in the system by saving government over N20 billion monthly.”
The president also said the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) had eliminated ghost workers and reduced waste, thereby saving the nation N20 billion monthly.
He said that the consolidation of 20,000 accounts had saved the nation N24.7 billion.
President Buhari described his presence at the event as a demonstration of his commitment and strong belief in using ICT as a major driver of developmental governance and economic reform plans aimed at bringing about the true CHANGE his administration promised Nigerians.
According to the President, ICT is strategic in driving productivity and efficiency in all sectors of the economy.
He noted that currently, almost all sectors of the nation’s economy leverage on ICT to increase efficiency, productivity and performance.
President Buhari commended NITDA’s efforts on fostering the patronage of indigenous IT products and services through continuous engagement with indigenous OEMs, relevant stakeholders and other laudable initiatives.
He observed that ICT played a pivotal role with agencies of government such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
He stated that the affected agencies had leaned on ICT in improving public service delivery in an efficient and transparent manner.
“So far, 31 reforms have been completed by the council and these reforms are already making noticeable impact on our economic diversification efforts.
“The Agency’s efforts at enforcing Federal Government’s directive on ensuring that all ICT projects in the country are cleared by it before implementation are highly commendable.
“These efforts will ensure that government’s ICT procurement is transparent.
“It is aligned with government’s IT-shared vision and policy, save costs through promotion of shared services, avoid duplication, ensure compatibility of IT systems, thereby improving efficiency across government and enforce the patronage of indigenous companies.’’
The president expressed the hope that the conference would come up with practical, viable solutions and recommendations to further develop local content in ICT as well as how it could best regulate the deployment and use of ICT systems to foster a digital economy in Nigeria.
DAILY ASSET reports that the President used the opportunity of the conference to express displeasure over refusal of some heads of government’s ministries, agencies and departments to wear the Armed Forces Remembrance’s Emblem.
He noted that very few of dignitaries at the conference wore the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem, which he inaugurated recently.
He urged all heads of ministries, departments and agencies to wear the emblem with pride, to encourage the legionnaires as well as families of those who paid the supreme price for the unity of the nation.
Buhari said the emblem launch was a worthy tradition of recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices of the veterans in the First and Second World Wars, Nigerian Civil War and Peace Support Operations around the world.
The Minister of communication Adebayo Shittu, said the ICT sector has contributed 12.8 percent to the GDP from less than five percent.
He said despite a circular of 2012 to patronize made in Nigeria products, the patronage is still very low.
He said the government has resolved to enforce the new guidelines to buy made in Nigeria among all MDAs.
He assured inventors that government will do everything to protect local goods and services instead of allowing the country to be used as a dumping ground.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Pantami, said the theme was deliberately choose to address the challenges in the country which include the alarming unemployment. He said Nigeria wants to tow the path of countries like Singapore whose effective deployment of ICT increased their GDP.
He said youths of the country are addicted to ICT which can be used positively to revamp the economy.
Pantami also noted that the online community generated over N3 trillion, adding that it was another indication that the sector should not be toy with.
“We don’t have a problem of talent but to get our priority right and to give preference to what is produced at home.”
The DG NITDA said with effective regulation to fight corruption, the agency has been able to save the country N2.5 billion this year alone, adding that “No more syphoning funds by MDAs with the deployment ICT”.
Among other dignitaries present are the Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Director General NITDA, Dr. Isa Pantami, Managing Director Galaxy Backbone Yusuf Kazaure, Special Assistant to the Honourable Speaker House of Representative Barr. Ezenia Denton Ogbuehi and others.