President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), if effectively harnessed, will provide job opportunities for teaming Nigerian youths, and enhance the quality of locally produced infrastructure.
President Buhari stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2017 e-Nigeria Conference, organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, ICT has come to stay, and has being a major driver in developmental governance and economic reform plans of the CHANGE agenda of the federal government.
In his address, the President revealed that almost all sectors of Nigeria’s economy now leverage on ICT to increase efficiency, productivity and performance. These sectors, according to him, has recorded huge investments and contributes over 10% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we are making conscious efforts to see that this contribution continues to grow in the next few years.
The President narrated how his administration has leverage on ICT to transform our government especially in the areas of strategy, policies and digital infrastructure investments.
His words: “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 N4.7 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.
“This administration recently issued an Executive Order mandating all ministries, departments and agencies to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services.
“Such measures are part of the deliberate efforts at encouraging local manufacture of ICT infrastructure, creating job opportunities, providing investment opportunities as well as strengthening our currency. We commend 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.
“ICT plays 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) which have 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 procurements are transparent, they are 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, who declared the conference open, urged participants to come up with practical, viable solutions and recommendations to further develop local content in ICT as well as how the administration can best regulate the deployment and use of ICT systems to foster a digital economy in Nigeria.