Nigeria | Regulator to ‘clear’ public sector’s ₦42.5b IT projects

Nigeria | Regulator to ‘clear’ public sector’s ₦42.5b IT projects

Nigeria | Regulator to ‘clear’ public sector’s ₦42.5b IT projects

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Government agencies must obtain regulatory clearance for public sector IT projects totalling over ₦42.5 billion in the 2017 budget, Nigeria’s IT regulator has said.

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said this today in a statement made available to Technology Times that it is now mandatory clearance for all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other government establishments to get NITDA clearance for all their IT projects.

Pantami said that, “the agency’s assessment of the 2017 Appropriation Bill revealed that MDAs proposed to spend approximately forty-two billion, five hundred and sixty million, nine hundred and forty-five thousand, one hundred and ninety-one naira (42,560,945,191.00) on IT projects. This represents 2.1% of the total capital budget of two trillion, forty-eight billion, nine hundred and eighty-nine million, five hundred and seventy-eight thousand, two hundred and twenty-two naira (2,048,989,578,222.00).”

Pantami also said that, “the realization that government’s investments in IT over the years were not commensurate with the value derived from such investments and had also failed to evolve a digitally-enabled public service that will advance the citizens’ yearnings of digital economy made it necessary for strategic repositioning of IT procurement in the public sector.”

He said that NITDA stance is “in line with Section 6 of the NITDA Act, 2007 as well as Service-wide Circular from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation which makes the Agency the clearing house for all IT procurement the public sector.”

Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, the new Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, the Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)

According to the IT regulator, “it is therefore imperative to ensure that maximum value is derived from such huge investment of public funds, especially at a time when the need for accountable, transparent, efficient and effective public spending is high on the current administration’s agenda.”

Pantami also said that, “the realization that government’s investments in IT over the years were not commensurate with the value derived from such investments and had also failed to evolve a digitally-enabled public service that will advance the citizens’ yearnings of digital economy made it necessary for strategic repositioning of IT procurement in the public sector.”

NITDA is now setting down the rules to ensure transparency in IT procurement by MDAs and other government establishments and also guarantee “alignment of IT projects/investments with MDAs and other government establishments’ mandates and functions as well as government IT shared vision and policy”, the agency chief said.

According to Pantami, “we are therefore calling on MDAs and other government establishments to ensure that their IT projects in the 2017 Appropriation Act are put forward for clearance before implementation.  It should be noted that a breach of the provision of NITDA Act and any other directive pursuant to the Act is an offence under Section 17 and punishable under Section 18 of the Act.”

NITDA says it is pushing forward with the mandatory clearance rule to provide availability of accurate statistics on Federal Government’s IT assets and investments that will help government make informed IT decisions.

The agency reckons that it will ensure that such cleared projects promote indigenous content and that preference is given to indigenous companies where capacity or the product or service exists.

According to Pantami, by clearing IT projects, NITDA will ensure the integration of IT systems and services to save costs, promote shared services, interoperability and improve efficiency.

The agency also justifies that the clearance will achieve the undelisted objectives:

  • that there is indigenous capacity for after-sales-service to sustain the project beyond the initial deployment;
  • that the technology being implemented is up-to-date;
  • that the technology and services being procured are suitable for the country from the point of view of security and the environment, among others;
  • the realization of IT as a major driver and enabler of policies and national development plans;
  • learning, knowledge and experience sharing on IT projects among MDAs.

Editor’s note: The headline for this story has been updated from “Nigeria | Regulator to ‘clear’ public sector’s ₦42.5b IT budget”

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Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

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