The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has tasked ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government to include provisions for warranty, downtime and after-sale support in their Service Level Agreements, (SLAs) to reduce costs incurred by the government in the procurement of information technology products and services.
The NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, stated this at the consumer protection forum tagged “Review of the Guidelines for Introduction of SLA in Government Contracts” today (November 9, 2022) in Abuja.
The objectives of the guideline which agree with sections 6a, 17, 18(4) and 32 of the NITDA Act 2007 are to ensure that; IT projects in government are implemented and supported in a sustainable and timely manner, IT government services are of consistently good quality and delivered in a way to enable the government to get the best value for investment in technology and digital technology assets and investment of government are protected.
The NITDA boss revealed that the agency intends to commence the development of a culture of compliance to SLAs when implementing government IT contracts adding that “the NITDA IT Clearance has proven to be a great cost cutter for the Federal Government”.
Describing the forum as a platform that brings the consumers and vendors of IT products and services together to address areas of challenges in IT service delivery, the NITDA boss noted that it will also create awareness of consumers’ rights on IT products and services to ensure efficient and effective service delivery.
Represented by the agency’s director, standards, guideline and framework, Mr. Oladejo Olawunmi, Abdullahi disclosed that the forum would serve as a platform that identifies hindrances to digital economy growth in Nigeria.
“Two weeks ago, NITDA had a very successful international conference – the Digital Nigeria International Conference – where the need to pull down barriers which stifle innovation in the digital economy was highly recommended. The Consumer Protection Forum is a platform to identify such barriers.
“NITDA, under its mandate of regulation of the IT sector in Nigeria and in furtherance of its developmental regulation pillar – which is one of the seven pillars of the Agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) – is always seeking to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of IT products and services. This is more so because of the significant role IT has played in the country’s economy in recent years and the more critical need for the Digital Economy to provide the much-needed succour from the prevailing global economic downturn,” he stated.
Abdullahi emphasised the need for a “viable enabling environment” for the digital economy to thrive, adding that it is not only enough to only have innovations in the emerging technologies but to ensure that players in the industry thrive under a mutually cohesive environment which makes the SLAs an imperative.
In a sideline interview, the lead reviewer of the guidelines, Barr. Babatunde Bamigboye explained that the guideline is to ensure the sustainability of government IT projects and services among the Federal public institutions. He said the move would help the government to save costs.
“The SLAs mean that government will not have to be spending money repeatedly on ICT. Once we have achieved one, we move on to the others. That is the ultimate goal and it would make our digital economy be built on something sustainable because if we are talking about the digital economy, the infrastructure should be on solid ground in terms of ICT and how can we get the solid infrastructure if we don’t have agreements or guidelines on how to get those infrastructures in place,” he queried.
He stated further that the SLAs support the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy because it falls under the developmental regulation pillar and it would promote solid infrastructure and development of indigenous content in IT.
Participants at the event were drawn from various MDAs and were unanimous that the implementation of guidelines would ensure efficient product and service delivery.