Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, the director-general of National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA), spoke about fully implementing e-Government and accurate deployment of ICT tools to slash the cost of governance, improve national economic growth, enhance access and quality of services as well as render public agencies more transparent and accountable. Dr. Pantami made the contention while speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement on Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF) organized by NITDA in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He stated; ‘‘We recognize the enormity of the responsibilities placed on the Agency as well as the possibilities of IT or e-Government as a development resource for achieving socio-economic transformation. ‘‘e-Government and ICT tools can among other things, cut down the cost of governance, improve national economic growth; enhance access and quality of services as well as render public agencies more transparent and accountable. ‘‘Accordingly, at this information age, going digital for any government is the optimal route to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ‘‘When all governance processes are integrated, you do not need personal contact or see somebody because he treats whatever you apply for. ‘‘It will help eliminate corruption. Without accountability, and transparency, we can’t fight corruption.’’ He added that NITDA is dedicated to changing the narrative by working side by side with stakeholders to remove existing barriers caused by archived deployment of IT solutions in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, resulting to the need for the stakeholders’ forum to review the e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF) for effective service delivery.
According to him; ‘‘The barriers have made information sharing a nightmare among MDAs. It is an obvious fact that applying information technology (IT) for governance holds tremendous potential to improve the way governments deliver public services. ‘‘It is worthy to note that seamless exchange of Information between various MDAs’ IT infrastructure and applications is critical to cross-portfolio service delivery and public service transformation. Section 6c of the NITDA Act, 2007 empowers the agency to 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 exchange of data and information. He listed 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.
‘We think there is need to come up with a framework. Many nations have their own framework, but Nigeria is yet to have one. It is better than never. ‘‘The Ne-GIF is expected to provide tools, specifications and recommendations that are based on Standards for supporting MDAs in undertaking interoperability of e-government solutions for the provision of cross-portfolio services. ‘‘Leveraging on ICT to ensure seamless information exchange is a prerequisite to achieving ERGP objectives, Sustainable Development Goals by United Nations and attaining our desired Government Digital Transformation Agenda. We need to build capacity and ensure the right leadership is provided across MDAs,’’ said Dr. Pantami.