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CommTech Minister rues low Internet presence of Nigeria public sector

CommTech Minister rues low Internet presence of Nigeria public sector
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 By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. July 31, 2012: More than half of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) numbering over 810 are yet to have a website, Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson has revealed while decrying the low online presence of the Nigeria public sector.
Johnson disclosed this in Lagos at the weekend in a presentation, tagged “Cashlite Nigeria- The related Telecommunication and Technology Issues” delivered at the 2012 Web-Jurist Award organised by Lagos-based consultancy, Philips Consulting Limited.
To further drive home the point, the Communication Technology Minister told attendees at the 2012 Web-Jurist Award that, “what we see in government parastatal is not a very good picture. Out of about 810 MDAs that we have, only about half of them have their website functioning; more than half of them are yet to have their website and there are number of them that are information only and not interactive.”
According to her, “MDAs are not widely seen on the website. In terms of quality of website we are still not doing well. We still have a lot of work to do.”
To resolve this, she said the ministry has started working on building a national government portal that will stand out while also promising that, “we will standardize the format of the websites.”
The Minister says that there will be a common and certain look and feel of all government agency’s website, adding that there will be a single entry point and for all that will be on the nation’s gateway portal, www.nigeria.gov.ng.
The Ministry of Information is in custodian of government information while the Ministry of Communication Technology thinks about the security and protection of the website through Galaxy Backbone, the Minister adds.
The Minister also commended Phillips Consulting for its over a initiatives of spearheading campaigns for Nigerians to put their businesses online, saying that her ministry is in full support of the initiative.
Talking about technology and cashlite initiative, the minister said the role of technology in cashless or mobile payment system is everything, noting that the way forward is electronic.
She states that Cash-lite initiative can drive transformation innovation and growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector while also noting that the Lagos Cashless Policy initiative has over 150,000 Point of Sale Terminal (POS) registered in the state.
There are opportunities to transform retail payments and drive growth in e-commerce in Nigeria, even as Nigerians are increasingly adopting technology as Nigeria becomes the first African country where mobile browsing overtakes desktop browsing and rapidly increasing volume of electronic payment system, Johnson adds.
According to her, to practice this effectively there is need to improve the country’s broadband penetration to meet the growing demand for accelerated economic growth as broadband or more importantly universal access to broadband is becoming a significant indicator of development and competitiveness amongst nations the world over.
Issues hindering broadband growth include ICT infrastructure, poor national coverage, cost of access and speed of access such that, “we have our ICT infrastructures still been rolled out, we don’t have enough coverage particularly the fibre optic infrastructure and the advanced wireless technology that enable the transaction on the network”
According to her, “we still have the issue of vandalisation, fibre-cut, issue of right of way by state and local government and a number of things affecting the system.”
Also speaking at the award ceremony, Chief Executive Officer, WAZZIT, Brian Richardson said there are many areas of innovation opportunities around mobile banking, adding that the system is part of the mainstream.
Richardson who notes that mobile has to be at the centre of any bank strategy says that financial institutions can reap massive reward from mobile banking if they wake up on time.
“Tomorrows achievement is planned and implemented today, there is enormous opportunity in Nigeria,” he says.
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