NITDA DG Advocates Blockchain Adoption For Transparent Governance

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The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has highlighted the crucial role of blockchain technology in achieving effective, secure and transparent government processes.

Abdullahi, who was speaking at a seminar organised for Course 32 by the National Defence College (NDC), addressed colonels and their equivalents from the Nigeria Armed Forces, senior officers from the Nigeria Police Force and public servants from strategic ministries, departments and agencies.

The seminar’s focus was on “Blockchain Technology for Improved Transparency in Governance: Blockchain-Based Public Procurement in Perspective.” Abdullahi addressed the challenges of traditional procurement processes, including bribery, bid rigging, extortion, coercion and fraudulent bid submissions. He emphasised the commitment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration, through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, to leverage blockchain technology in addressing these challenges.

Explaining blockchain technology, Abdullahi highlighted its secure, transparent and tamper-proof characteristics. He stated, “It is secure because digital files are cryptographically signed by an issuer and registered on the Blockchain; it is transparent because it is broadcast openly, and it is tamper-proof because it is blocked in a distributed manner”.

Abdullahi outlined the steps in a Blockchain transaction process, emphasising the use of cryptographic technology with public and private keys for verification. Transactions are then added to a block and when the block reaches a specific specification or size, it is added to a chain of other blocks through a consensus process, creating a tamper-proof record distributed to all nodes within the network.

Highlighting the economic value of blockchain, Abdullahi referred to PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC), stating that blockchain is projected to add $1.76 trillion to the global economy by 2030. He stressed Nigeria’s need to embrace blockchain implementation, citing its applications in administrative tracking and tracing, digital identity, smart contracts, supply chains, healthcare systems, electronic voting processes and more.

In recognition of Blockchain’s importance, Abdullahi revealed that the Federal Executive Council approved the National Blockchain Policy on May 5, 2023 and it was launched on May 15 of the same year. He highlighted the government’s efforts in implementing the policy, including talent development, innovation and adoption through collaborations with relevant institutions.

Abdullahi discussed NITDA’s partnerships for blockchain training, such as the collaboration with Dominion to train 32,000 Nigerians on blockchain applications. He also mentioned collaborations with the National Youth Service Corps on using blockchain for issuing discharge certificates and partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria on an innovation challenge related to the e-Naira.

During the seminar, the Commandant of the NDC, Rear Admiral Olumuyiwa Olotu expressed gratitude to the NITDA DG for sharing insights into fostering national unity through science and technology. He emphasised the government’s massive investment in science, technology and innovation programmes to enhance national development and security. The commandant highlighted ongoing initiatives, including the government’s collaboration with Oracle to reform civil service processes and data management for improved business operations, digital innovation, identity management, efficient payroll administration and citizen service delivery in Nigeria.

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