Procurement and information technology officers in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have been given marching orders to stem the tide of IT projects’ failure in their various organisations by deploying the service level agreement (SLA) framework. This call was made during a stakeholder’s engagement forum in Abuja where the importance of efficient Service Level aagreement towards creating an enabling environment for vendors and consumers, as well as ensuring that extant rules and regulations were applied on all government information technology contracts was reinforced.
The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Abdullahi, while speaking at the consumer protection forum organised by the agency, themed “Inculcating the culture of service level agreement in government Information Technology contract” said: “This forum is to acquaint participants with the rudiments of IT Contracts award and execution in their respective organisations”.
The DG, who was represented at the forum by the acting director, standards guidelines and frameworks of the agency, Mr Oladejo, urged participants, drawn from various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), to make useful contributions aimed at developing digital technology in Nigeria in line with the agency’s core values of professionalism, innovation and people first.
While declaring the session open, the DG said that NITDA, in furtherance of one of its seven strategic pillars, which is developmental regulation, is always seeking ways to ensure efficient and effective delivery of IT projects and services, especially within government establishments.
Abdullahi underscored the need for mutual understanding in developing standards and building the capacity of the IT and procurement staff of each organization. He added that the IT sector has played a pivotal role in getting the country’s economy out of recession in recent times, which resulted in making the sector the highest GDP growth rate in Q1 of 2020 as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
He maintained that, with the growth rate in the IT sector, being the only double-digit growth rate sector that exceeded the aggregate of all the seven fastest-growing sectors which made it to lead in the year 2020 and Q1 of 2021; “this, indeed, is what prompted the need to protect the consumer’s interest,” he said.
Abdullahi added that it is pertinent to note that the Consumer Protection Forum is a platform through which NITDA seeks to bring vendors and consumers in the IT industry together to address areas of challenges in service delivery. He argued that it is an avenue to create awareness of consumer rights on IT products and services for efficient and effective service delivery.
He said issues relating to general IT between consumers and service providers were to be looked into holistically and critically to come up with acceptable guidelines and frameworks for all players in the sector. He also announced that the forum, with NITDA’s support, is adopting a new approach in resolving specific issues that affect the sector.
“Issues discussed in past Consumer Protection fora and subsequent complaints received within the industry were collated, a result of which NITDA has developed a guideline for the introduction of Service Level Agreement SLA to aid government Information Technology Contracts”.
The DG assured that NITDA will continue to protect the consumers and users of IT against substandard IT products and services in Nigeria.
Experts on SLA took turns to present papers in areas related to consumers rights, one of such was titled; “Ensuring Sustainability in IT projects through Service Level Agreement SLA”, delivered by Barrister Babatunde Bamigboye.
The lead paper focuses on areas of ensuring sustainability in Information Technology projects through SLA, challenges, increasing the culture of SLA, general formalities of contracts, specific formalities of SLAs in IT amongst many others.
Some speakers affirmed that the wide-scale failure of IT projects executed within MDA necessitated the development of the framework to guide the MDAs in defining the scope, liability, limitation and nature of IT projects for the government.