One cannot but stress how important it is for a 21st century government to be technology savvy. Technology simply automates processes created by people, hence, the Nigerian Government needs to embrace innovative technology in order to effectively cater for its corporate and consumer needs and in essence, deliver better services.
If properly implemented, technology can create more effective and cost saving management and operational models; and eventually create a slimmer, more responsive, transparent and agile form of bureaucracy within the system. One way of achieving this uphill task could be to seek partnership/ assistance of a foreign government such as that of Estonia, a country with a population of less than 2 million, according to Wikipedia, which is arguably the world’s most tech-savvy government. However, I am of the opinion that Nigeria’s private sector possesses the skills and man-power needed to make the Nigerian Government more tech-savvy; not by hiring contractors but by absorbing these able hands into the government’s work force.
Problem: A technologically backward Nigerian government
Beneficiary: The Nigerian government, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology and Nigerians
Proposed by: Tomi Orunmuyi, ICT & Media Expert (Msc Telecommunication Systems Management – Queen Mary University of London, BSc Electrical Engineering- University of Ilorin)
Idea Status: Pitch
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Technology is crucial to establishing and running the country. Nigeria needs a public agency for central e-government solutions forming an Information System’s Authority. But first, the government needs to end mediocre projects. Some of my proposals are:
> Scrap ALL government website development contracts awarded to contractors. Why can’t these websites be built by the parastatals?
> Consolidate/review the ICT Ministry parastatals (Galaxy backbone & NITDA)- In my view, these parastatals are functioning below par and perform some similar services.
> Address the issue of incapacitated ICT graduates- The curriculum/syllabuses of ICT related taught programmes/courses in Nigerian Universities are globally not competitive and out of date, hence produces unemployable ICT graduates. Note that this is not even an infrastructure problem.
Digitalising the Nigerian Government is very crucial to achieving the goals of effectiveness and Transparency outlined by the new government. The following actions will be required:
- Build Data processing and storage infrastructure- Some of which already exist within a parastatal (Galaxy backbone).
- Build networking infrastructure (Government Intranet)- This will allow for solutions such as video conferencing for meetings, Voice Over IP for phone calls, etc.
- Employ/poach capable ICT professionals (developers, hackers, data scientists, digital artists, network engineers, network and data security experts, solutions architects, etc.)from the private sector.
- Make digital copies of all documents (the video below shows the digitization process of archives by the UK parliament recording team)
However, the items listed above do not come cheap! But this will create a path towards creating a self sufficient tech-savvy Nigerian Government.
It is very important to create a centralised point of government services and these can be achieved by taking the action points listed above. Some services that can result from this restructuring are:
- Population registries – individuals’ addresses
- Tax board – tax debts, declarations
- E-Health – personal health data / records, doctors’ licenses, prescriptions issued, health insurance cover
- Social insurance registries – individuals’ benefits and claims
- Business registries – representation rights, reports
- Land registries – address data
- E-Police – traffic violations, missing persons and fugitives
- Vehicle and driver registries – licences, traffic insurance coverage
- Educational registries – educational records
- Unemployment data – benefits and claims
- Migration board – documents data
Full impact potential: A Tech-savvy Nigerian Government, e-Platforms for Transparency and Validation, etc.
Funding: Nigerian Government
Marketplace: Information Technology, Governance
Other interesting facts:
The Ministry of Information website, as at 01-07-2015, still had a campaign of the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Most of the federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are currently hosting their webs and emails’ servers outside of the country, thereby making a mockery of the government.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) website is hosted in the US. What a shame!
Written by: Tomi Orunmuyi, ICT expert