The Chief Executive Officer of Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe has called on government to apply strategic approach to Information Technology (IT) development within the government circle.
The call became necessary, in order to increase the level of adoption of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for the delivery of public services and transformation of government operations.
Ilukwe, who spoke with THISDAY on telephone, said government must device a strategic approach to IT development within the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, in order to encourage increased use of ICT services within government establishments.
Blaming low broadband penetration in the country on several reasons, Ilukwe said government must device a strategic all inclusive approach that would encourage civil servants to embrace the use of ICTs.
According to him, a situation whereby some government ministries do things differently without any form of synergy with other ministries through broadband connectivity, would amount to dissipation of efforts and waste of government resources.
“Some MDAs subvert efforts of broadband connectivity and do things differently from other MDAs, claiming that their needs are peculiar to them and must be addressed separately from other ministries. But all these amount to duplication of government activities within several ministries, and could be controlled if government insists on deploying the right approach to IT development,” Ilukwe said.
He faulted a situation where out of the 33 ministries of government, only about three have organised IT leadership structure in their IT departments, according to recent statistics on government MDAs.
He however commended the ministry of communications technology for its efforts in harmonising all IT related activities of the various government MDAs, with a view to putting all government activities online, through the coordination of Galaxy Backbone, that was established by government to provide Internet Protocol (IP)-based connectivity services to all ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.
Ilukwe, who was responding to the challenges affecting broadband penetration in the country, especially within government establishments, blamed it on poor funding and budgeting; inadequate skilled IT resources in government; and resistance to change among government personnel.
According to him, Nigeria did not spend up to one per cent of its recurring budget on ICT services, a situation, which was partly responsible for low ICT adoption in government.
Ilukwe called on government to provide adequate and sustainable funding for all e-government initiatives and to also invest in broadband penetration in rural areas so that all citizens can have access to government services, irrespective of their locations.
“Government should either invest directly in rural broadband penetration or give incentives to operators that are willing to do so,” he said.
Listing some of the achievements of Galaxy Backbone, Ilukwe said it has hosted over 100 websites for government MDAs and provided direct connectivity to over 360 MDAs, spread over 3,000 locations nationwide, but insisted that it could do better if government deploys strategies that would encourage increased use of ICTs among civil servants, and further drive broadband penetration among Nigerians.