eGovernment, Blessing To All Nigerians – Pantami

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is very passionate about implementing the master plan of National eGovernment which he described as a blessing to all Nigerians.

He stated this at a webinar with the theme ‘Secure e-government’ in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) organised by the agency in collaboration with Digital Jewels.

He said the ministry’s focus was not just to have an active eGovernment but a secure one which would gain the confidence of all Nigerians, adding the National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which was developed for a digital Nigeria has eGovernment as one of its pillars and secured through another pillar ‘Cybersecurity”.

He averred that a subsidiary legislation of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) which is a regulation that protects the privacy of data being implemented by NITDA, was one of the most effective initiatives of the current administration.

“I led a team then that developed the first ever NDPR in order to give confidence to our citizens that any data under the government is secured, and we have been implementing this,” he added.

Pantami said series of eGovernment trainings had been organized where public and civil servants were trained on eGovernment, adding some of the trainings were conducted by NITDA in collaboration with Galaxy Backbone Limited.

He said National eGovernment Training Centre which was established by the Buhari administration in Abuja at the Public Service Institute is a world class training centre where citizens, particularly civil servants and other underemployed or unemployed citizens are being trained.

In his remark, the director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said the agency had recalibrated and refocused her efforts on the implementation of the NDEPS, adding the minister recently unveiled the agency’s Strategic Road Map and Action Plan which according to him, is a turning point for the agency on digitalization of Nigeria.

“As we push for a digital economy, it is imperative to build the confidence and trust of citizens for either government services or other private services,” he said.

He added the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan 2021-2014 is anchored on seven strategic pillars – developmental regulations which focus on indices needed to move Nigeria on the eGovernment index. 

“Some of these regulations are regulatory instruments, guidelines and frameworks that prepare Nigeria for this journey,” he stated.

He stated that the agency issued the NDPR to help Nigerians understand data privacy and build confidence for people to use data services.

“The regulation was innovative in the sense that apart from making sure we have a secure digital service, it also created an industry for our country. Data is the greatest resource in the digital economy,” he added.

Abdullahi said digital literacy is another pillar which focuses on capacity building of eGovernment services, noting that it is important to build people’s capacities on proficient use of digital services. 

He also named digital transformation as another pillar which uses digital technology for operational excellence in governance that enhances transformational delivery of traditional government services.

The NITDA boss further said digital innovation and entrepreneurship and promotion of indigenous contents are strategic pillars which basically involves the maximum empowerment and use of local innovations to come up with indigenous made solutions for the nation.

Abdullalhi referred to emerging technologies as a pillar which encourages citizens to develop and adopt strategies for emerging technologies, pointing out that some of the emerging technologies are foundational techs that cut across so many industries like the block chain, artificial intelligence and robotics.

“However, cybersecurity is a pillar which is very essential for digital economy and digital transformation within the government. We are making our cyber space secure and build the confidence of every Nigerian citizen,” Abdullahi added.

Earlier in her presentation, the managing director of Digital Jewels, Ms Adedoyin Odunfa, said the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals had aligned with NITDA in the areas of poverty eradication, gender equality, industry, innovation and infrastructure among others.

She disclosed that a survey on eGovernment development status was carried out in 193 United Nations member-states which reflected the importance of eGovernment to sustain the sustainable goals.

She categorically stated that if implemented effectively in any country, eGovernment will help in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms Odunfa noted that facilitating policies and services through eGovernment, open government data for promoting effective transparent institutions, eGovernment for policy integration and e-participation to promote participatory decision making and service delivery are key trends to be considered in eGovernment.

Oluchi Okorafor
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