By Emma Okonji
The Plateau State government has issued guidelines for clearance of information technologic (IT) projects by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in line with the state governor’s drive for transparency and more prudent spending of public funds.
Under the new rule, MDAs are required to obtain clearance from the Plateau State Information and Communications Development Agency (PICTDA) for their IT projects. MDAs that fail to comply with the guidelines on IT clearance risk serious sanction including criminal prosecution in line with the state governor’s agenda for sustainable development, public expenditure accountability and elimination of duplicity of projects within public institutions.
Last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its Second Corruption Survey Report, rated Plateau State as the least corrupt state in Nigeria after Imo State. The survey was conducted in collaboration with other partner international agencies including the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The rating, it was gathered, validated the efforts of Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State to entrench good governance, accountability, and transparency in the management of public funds.
The new rule is modeled on the IT project clearance procedures approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, where all federal MDAs must seek clearance from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for all IT projects.
The guidelines for clearance of IT projects is in conformity with the
Lalong’s administration’s zero tolerance for corruption and “determination to ensure that public funds are used strictly for the benefit of the people of Plateau.”
Among other objectives, the new guidelines will ensure that IT projects are not duplicated; allow for integration of IT systems and services by MDAs to save costs, promote shared services, interoperability and improve efficiency; ensure that the technology and services procured are suitable for Plateau State from the point of view of security and the environment; guaranty indigenous capacity for after-sales-service to sustain the project beyond the initial deployment; and also help to promote indigenous content and preference for indigenous companies where capacity or the product or service exists; and that the technology being implemented is up-to-date.
ICT projects without the PICTDA’s clearance will be flagged and queried, according to the Auditor General of Plateau State, Mr. Setle Michael Damwes.
The State Commissioner of Science and Technology, Mr. Dung Musa Gyang, said: “Accountability and transparency is the fulcrum of the Lalong’s administration and it is our mandate to ensure that guidelines that relates to achieving this is properly utilised. We are therefore appealing to the Auditor General to make available a circular to all MDAs notifying them of the need for strict compliance.”