The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has said digital technologies are facilitating the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.
He stated this at the 2021 pre-Democracy Day conference with the theme ‘Appraising the impact of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption fight on the Nigerian economy since 2015’, organised by Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) in collaboration with Transparency Advocacy Development Initiative (TADI) in Abuja.
The minister who was represented by the managing director, Nigeria Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT), Mrs Abimbola Alale, said government policies, such as Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and Bank Verification Number (BVN), among others, were good success stories of ICT adoption to combat corruption. He explained that the implementation of TSA and IPPIS/BVN was saving the country billions of naira every month, and had facilitated the elimination of ghost workers in various MDAs.
“In Nigeria, ICT has supported the fight against corruption by raising accountability and transparency through online services, transparency or open data portals, crowdsource and online corruption reporting, service automation and digitalization,” he said.
In his paper presentation, the director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, pointed out that innovative ideas would help in curtailing corruption in Nigeria.
He said the Buhari administration’s commitment at the global level, led to Nigeria joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in July 2016 as the 70th country. The OGP is an international multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation.
The NITDA boss who was represented by the director, IT infrastructure solutions at the agency, Usman Abdullahi, said the administration had shown its commitment by launching the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS 2020 – 2030) for a Digital Nigeria.
The goal of NDEPS, according to him, is to promote the use of digital technologies to enhance transparency and anti-corruption, which is at the heart of the digital economy.
He noted that IT projects; clearance process of NITDA facilitated unprecedented improvement in IT projects; delivery in federal public institutions, which resulted in saving over N22.5 billion for the government.
The IT regulator’s CEO cited the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS 2017-2021), which is anchored on five pillars, namely prevention, engagement, ethical re-orientation, enforcement, sanctions and recovery, and management of proceeds of crime as efforts made to ensure adequate utilization of ICT towards their realization.
He explained that the shift in funds from resource-based and physical economy to a digital economy requires a supply-demand matching approach to digital resources and market-creating innovations.
“On the aspect of supply, we are working to ensure government services are digital, end-to-end. We are working with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to increase enrolment drastically. The identity enrolment database has grown to 54 million. We want to ensure all Nigerians have a digital identity in the coming years. We are providing an enabling environment for last-mile broadband penetration. There are about 150 million internet users with about 42.93 per cent broadband penetration.
“On the demand side, we are focusing on digital literacy and the skills required to uptake digital services across different levels of the masses. We are creating activities that will increase the demand for digital content and services by the citizens. Our strategy is to focus more on market-creating innovations that would impact the economy, create massive jobs and lift many Nigerians out of poverty. Ultimately, this principle will reduce corruption in our systems and help us develop as a country,” he stated.
Earlier in his welcome address, the conference coordinator and president of GICN, Barr. Edward. Omaga, said the essence of the conference was to painstakingly appraise the effort of the Buhari administration towards combating the menace called corruption.