Kola Aina, Group CEO of Emerging Platforms, a Nigerian technology company has asked the Federal Government to accord priority to digitization of the Federal Public Service for effective service delivery to Nigerians.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]“Last year a lot of people died while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and it took quite some time before they were identified because their information was not captured digitally, that is how tragic it could be when digitization is not utilized”, Group CEO of Emerging Platforms said while further highlighting many more benefits the country stands to gain when it fully digitize its public sector.[/quote]According to him, digitization of public sector in Nigeria is no longer ”a necessity but a national emergency.”
This was one of the highlights extract from his presentation, “Digitization of Government and Public Sector” at the just-concluded Nigeria International Technology Exhibition and Conference (NITEC) 2016 in Lagos.
“So many parts of our national identity, so many government bodies are still stuck in manual database processes and if we only stop to think about what we lose in terms of efficiency and time, we will really start to realize that it is a national emergency,” the Group CEO of Emerging Platforms told participants at the tech event.
According to him, any nation, company or any individual that really wants to be at the forefront has to look at leveraging the contemporary form of technology and government should not be left out of this discussion.
“Today, the leading nations, especially the ones we call first world nations are leveraging years of technology advancement to push the frontiers of development. Recently you must have heard about Dubai creating smart cities that will have sensors that literally, as you cross the street sensors would control street lights”, he said.
According to Aina, “this is the frontier that the rest of the world is moving to, and the question for me is where does Nigeria stand in this spectrum? Is there a considerable measure to leverage the advantages brought by this age of technology? Are we crawling? How can we begin to move away from the manual processes?”
He expressed concern that tonnes of data are generated in Nigeria today through manual processes and says that the implications are not only catastrophic but also tragic.
“Last year a lot of people died while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and it took quite some time before they were identified because their information was not captured digitally, that is how tragic it could be when digitization is not utilized”, Group CEO of Emerging Platforms said while further highlighting many more benefits the country stands to gain when it fully digitize its public sector.
“In digitizing our public sector, the hospitals, the railway system, judiciary, and payment of bills are all going to benefit and things would be done seamlessly and in real time. Also, digitization in the public sector is probably one of the strongest anti-corruption mechanisms.”
He adds that, “foreign companies that come into this country rely on market research, however modern market research relies on the availability of data which you can’t leverage using analytics, if you don’t digitize, much won’t be found about you.”
The Group CEO of Emerging Platforms further recognizes that Nigeria is beginning to explore potentials of technology and advancements but says that beyond leveraging technology for elections, digitization of immigration processes and few other deployments here and there, the country needs to begin to truly unlock the full potential that lies in full scale aggressive digitization, particularly in the public sector.
“So far there are pockets of successes here and there, but it is not just about deploying computers in offices or every agency having its own system, it is really about creating linkages looking at how to have more shared services,” he says.
According to him, “it is very important that we begin to see the linkage of digitization and the economy. We learnt that the TSA has made a lot of money for the country, so it’s amazing what digitization can do, including turning up money that you didn’t know you have.”
Though digitization of the public sector attracts all these advantages, Aina however says it at the same time has few demerits.
“It is important for us not to get too excited about digitization, they are demerits and they could be flaws. They are concerns about hackers,” he says.
“The truth of the matter is that data insecurity is a constant evolving phenomenon; you can never arrive at permanent solution. But serious government around the world at the same time are known to also employ what they call ethical hackers, so it is really about creating a solution that puts this in consideration,” the Group CEO of Emerging Platforms told attendees at NITEC 2016.