Stories by David Agba Abuja—
T h e N i g e r i a n Na t i o n a l In f o r m a t i o n Te c h n o l o g y Development Agency (NITDA) has issued a statement warning Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as other government establishments to seek clearance from the Agency before embarking on any IT project. NITDA said this was in line with Section 6 of the NITDA Act, 2007 as well as Service-wide Circular from the Offi ce of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation which makes the Agency the clearing house for all IT procurement the public sector.
T h e o b j e c t i ve s o f t h e clearance exercise are to ensure: Transparency in IT procurement by MDAs and other government establishments; alignment of IT projects/investments with MDAs and other government establishments’ mandates and functions as well as government IT shared vision and policy; integration of IT systems and services to save costs, promote shared services, interoperability and improve effi ciency; that there is indigenous capacity for aftersales-service to sustain the project beyond the initial deployment.
Others are that the project promotes indigenous content and that preference is given to indigenous companies where capacity or the product or service exists; that the technology being implemented is up-to-date; that the technology and services being procured are suitable for the country from the point of view of security and the environment, among others; the realization of IT as a major driver and enabler of policies and national development plans and learning, knowledge and experience sharing on IT projects among MDAs; and the availability of accurate statistics on Federal Government’s IT assets and Investments to help government make informed IT decisions.
Th e statement said realisation that government’s investments in IT over the years were not commensurate with the value derived from such investments and had also failed to evolve a digitallyenabled public service that will advance the citizens’ yearnings of digital economy made it necessary for strategic repositioning of IT procurement in the public sector. The Agency’s assessment of the 2017 Appropriation Bill revealed that MDAs proposed t o s p e n d a p p rox i m a t e l y N42,560,945,191.00 on IT projects. This represents 2.1% of the total capital budget of N2,048,989,578,222.00. It is therefore imperative to ensure that maximum value is derived from such huge investment of public funds, especially at a time when the need for accountable, transparent, effi cient and eff ective public spending is high on the current administration’s agenda