FG to Deepen Governance with Digital Platform


Emma Okonji

The federal government on Thursday in Abuja, reiterated its commitment to expand governance to all sectors of the economy, using digital platforms driven by data centres.

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said efforts are on to expand the number of data centres in the country as part of government’s plan to expand its presence on a digital platform, 1-gov.net.

According to the minister, the digital platform, apart from consolidating existing government ICT infrastructure, also enables ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs), to exchange data in a seamless manner while allowing each other to remain independent and maintain its privacy and the security of its operatives.

Shittu who made the disclosure during his keynote address delivered at the 2017 Microsoft Digital Government Conference held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, said through the 1-gov.net, government has become more participative and accessible where citizens can participate in policy process through discussions, suggestions and online-polls.

“Various government departments are using the platform to seek inputs on a wide range of issues. Using the 1-gov.net platform, government has been able to save 30 per cent of what it would have expended on a unit per unit cost. As at date 90 per cent of all MDAs within Abuja are linked with fiber backbone and 3,500 locations of different MDAs have been touched across the country. About 270 MDAs websites and applications are being hosted on the network,” the minister said.

“Government has recorded success in 1-gov.net, we now focus on some services that have direct bearing on the present administration’s priorities, and we determined to continue with the shared ICT infrastructure and services initiative in the MDAs. The 1-gov.net is promoting Whole-of-Government approaches in the information age based on shared services. This approach will enhance productivity of government officials, increase experience of patrons of government services, enhance security and drive out the menace of corruption,” the minister added.

He said government would continue to recognise the urgent need to increase efficiency and transparency, improve and align processes, smart government and smart cities, attract new investors, bridge the digital divide, transform government transaction services, data-driven government, better access to and management of information, in such a way that would enhance citizen satisfaction and trust, meeting the needs of rapidly changing demographics and balancing costs while optimising efficiency.

According to him, digital government is a vision statement that seeks to bring about citizen empowerment by harnessing the potentials of ICTs as well as seeking to transform government into digitally empowered society and knowledge economy in a manner that government is available on the palm of every citizen.

Digital government, he said, does not comprise the digital architecture alone, but it encompasses digital delivery of citizen-centric services, and ultimately, digital empowerment of the people.

He said: “Internet users in Nigeria have crossed 90 million. The mobile users have also crossed 156 million mark. The smart phone users are more than 60 million. Today, from booking of train tickets to payment of fees and taxes, from post office and banking transactions to issue of digital documents, online registrations to online applications and e-services, digital revolution is seen everywhere and touches almost every aspect of life of a common citizen.”

Shittu further said that government invested in shared ICT Infrastructure to secure the benefits of lower cost, increased security, increased innovation and faster service delivery, adding that government is supporting the development and sustenance of ICT applications that are driving cost effectiveness and transparency in government service delivery. He added that applications supporting the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA), IPPIS, Budget Portal and BVN verifications among others were already resulting in huge savings.

The Ministry of Communications, he said, has expanded the Open Government Data Portal, which is a part of the Federal Government Open Data Initiative, stressing that many civil servants have been trained across MDAs on the use of the portal.
The minister called Microsoft to help train local ICT savvy youth and key into government’s local content policy on current projects and priorities to ensure a smooth transition, while emphasing that Nigeria is the new bride in empowering digital governments to share latest innovative technology trends and government solutions to improve the capabilities of government within Nigeria.