FG Insists on Practical Skills for e-Government Processes

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Isa Pantami
Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami

Emma Okonji

The federal government through the Ministry of Communications, has stressed the need for all government officials to take the issue of e-Government initiative from theoretical to practical approach, in order to ensure strategic implementation of all government online processes.

This, the government explained, would be in tandem with the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami, who gave the order during the recent meeting with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), led by its Country Director, Mr. Woochan Chang, at Abuja, said the federal government recognised the support, collaboration and trainings facilitated for many public servants in Nigeria by KOICA, noting that government was ready to continue to partner and work with them to move the e-Government implementation to the next level.

According the minister, “We must sit down and take the issue of e-Government from theoretical to practical approach. I am glad we already have e-Government Master Plan in place but I always challenge my colleagues that producing master plan, blue print or strategies is not enough until we do what we can to translate it into action”

He added, “If a document is produced and documented in our place without implementation, the aims would have been defeated because the strategy is just theoretical, execution of that theory is where our expertise needs to be displayed.”

Pantami said living in theoretical form would not solve the problem, while stressing the need for government officials to ensure that they put a strategy in place to implement the master plan religiously and ensure that the country reaps the expected result for its socio-economic development, by creating digital jobs.

“We want to ensure that all the agencies under the Ministry play significant roles in the area of E-Government implementation,” he added.

The minister thanked the KOICA team for the provision of e-Government Training Centre at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) and assured them that government would ensure that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) do partake in the training.

Responding, Chang pointed out that the team had been collaborating with the ministry to develop e-Government in Nigeria and that it has engaged with many other stakeholders such as the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Civil Society Organisation (CSO) and others for effective implement of the e-Government in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Pantami has reiterated the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to coordinate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) activities in Nigeria.

He stated this during his meeting with the Deputy Managing Director, Head of Public Sector, Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. Michael Zhauang at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja recently.

The minister noted that the ministry had been mandated to coordinate ICT activities in the country, give direction and ensure that agencies under the supervision of the ministry, actively participate in the process.

Pantami assured Huawei Technologies that the ministry’s doors were open and that it would be on the same page with them on issues relating to ICT development in Nigeria.

He, therefore, urged them to continue the collaboration with the ministry and to increase their Community Social Responsibilities (CSR).

Zhauang, assured the minister that Huawei Technologies would collaborate further with the ministry in ICT infrastructure deployment, calibration and training.

According to him, “we look forward to more opportunities and cooperation in ICT and we are willing to explore more areas as well as continue with our CSR activities in the country.”

In a related development, Pantami, while receiving the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms. Harriet Thompson recently, stated that the ministry planned to achieve a lot in the area of e-Government, particularly in the federal institutions in line with the e-Government Master Plan, by the end of 2022.

Pantami revealed that the ministry would be having retreat soon, where all its priorities would be set right, based on the directive government has given it.

He said agencies under his supervision have been directed to play their roles and ensure that much is achieved in the area of e-Government implementation, adding that he cannot afford to fail and betray Mr. President’s directive on the ICT sector.