- Â Says ICT contributes 10 % to GDP
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari tuesday disclosed that the enforcement of treasury single account (TSA) has resulted in the monthly savings of N4.7 billion while the implementation of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) has equally saved Nigeria over N20 billion.
Buhari made this disclosure tuesday while declaring open the e-Nigeria Conference organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.
The president who described information communication technology (ICT) as a veritable tool in driving productivity and efficiency in all sectors of the economy, lamented that 80 per cent of ICT hardware purchases in Nigeria are imported.
Disclosing that the implementation of TSA has culminated in the consolidation of over 20,000 accounts, Buhari said the application of IPPIS had equally helped the government to eradicate ghost workers and consequently reduce waste of government resources.
â€œWe 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..
â€œAnother 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,â€ he said.
Observing that almost all sectors of the economy rely on ICT to enhance efficiency, productivity and performance, the president said Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa, has huge opportunities to manufacture ICT products.
According to him, if Nigeriaâ€™s ICT manufacturing capacity is explored, it will not only provide jobs for Nigeriaâ€™s teeming youth but will also reduce the cost of purchasing ICT hardware and simultaneously boost government revenue.
He therefore tasked the conference to come up with recommendations aimed at influencing ICT manufacturing in the country, disclosing that the ICT sector had made 10 per cent contribution to Nigeriaâ€™s gross domestic product (GDP) adding that the government is poised to ensuring the continuous growth of the sector.
Buhari further expressed hope that the conference would come up with practical and meaningful recommendations that will foster the development of local content in ICT as well as suggestions meant to shape regulation and deployment of the use of ICT systems to herald a digital economy in Nigeria.
â€œThe sector has recorded huge investments and contributes over 10 per cent of the nationâ€™s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we are making conscious efforts to see that this contribution continues to grow in the next few years.
â€œAbout 80 per cent of ICT hardware purchases are imported through local distributors of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) by MDAs and other government establishments. This makes it difficult for us to benefit from the dividends of continuous procurement and consumption of ICT infrastructure and limited value retention within the country.
â€œAs the most populous country in Africa, there are huge opportunities for ICT manufacturing in Nigeria. This, when harnessed, will provide job opportunities for our teaming youths, enhance the quality of locally produced infrastructure, reduce cost of acquisition and increase government revenue.
â€œThere is, therefore, the need for deliberate efforts, both from government as well as the private sector to see to the realisation of this. I urge you to come up with viable recommendations on how we can make the country an export hub for ICT hardware in Africa,â€ he stated.
Recalling the administrationâ€™s recent executive order mandating government agencies to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services on ICT, he said the order was part of government efforts to encourage local manufacture of ICT infrastructure, create jobs, provide investment opportunities and strengthen the naira.
While highlighting the revolutionising roles of ICT in Nigeria, Buhari said ICT had been the bedrock of some government agencies including the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
He emphasised that these agencies exploit ICT to improve public service delivery, disclosing that 31 reforms have been initiated by the federal government adding that such reforms have influenced governmentâ€™s efforts at diversifying the economy.
He commended NITDA for enforcing government directive on ICT by ensuring that all ICT projects in the country are cleared before implementation, saying â€œthese efforts will ensure that governmentâ€™s ICT procurements are transparent, they are aligned with governmentâ€™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.â€