By Prince Osuagwu
The Federal Government has been advised to constantly engage telecom service providers in a meaningful dialogue, to take away experiences necessary to boost e-governance of the country.
Participants at a recent Nigeria e-Government Summit that held in Lagos, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA and other stakeholders, agreed that there was need for more meaningful engagement between the Federal Government and technology service providers, in order to enhance the delivery of e-Government services to the citizens.
The Executive Chairman, DigiServe Network Services, organisers of the summit, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, in his opening remarks, said technology service providers were not engaging government enough and that they were not coming up with adequate technology solutions that would enhance the delivery of e-government services to the citizens.
According to him: “Those who suffer most from the lack of sufficient government engagement are the Nigerian citizens, because citizens no longer get quality service delivery from government. Citizens are not getting quality service from government because technologies are not efficiently deployed in government service deliveries.
In order to bridge the gap, DigiServe decided to use its e-Government Summit platform to bring together, government and technology service providers to share experience on the way forward.”
In his keynote address, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and Chairman, Joint Tax Board, JTB, Mr. Muhammad Nami, spoke on the benefits of technology adoption by the Federal Government to enhance e-government service delivery.
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Nami, who was represented by the Group Lead, Digital Support Group at FIRS, Mrs. Chiaka Ben-Obi, said technology remained a key enabler, and the cornerstone of any nation’s development, thus providing huge opportunities for e-government service deliveries.
According to Nami, “The path to successful implementation of e-government is complex, sometimes requiring legislative support, effective design of administrative and technical procedures, and extensive consultation processes with key stakeholders. FIRS is ready to partner with Ministries, Departments and Agencies; Technology Companies and Multinational Organizations and other stakeholders, for e-government initiatives that will increase tax compliance, increase revenue generation and accelerate Nigeria’s economic growth.”
He however listed some of the challenges to technology adoption by government to include: Implementation of legislation to support the MDAs in achieving its target; Multiple vendors and systems; High cost of technology adoption and Internal resistance to change, among others.
In another keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management at NCC, Adewolu Adeleke, said governments would function more effectively through the adoption of ICT, that would lead to the provision of speedy access to automated services in order to make public welfare services available to all citizens.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been working assiduously with all stakeholders to deepen penetration of broadband infrastructure and services, which support the growth of e-governance and other critical digital economy objectives throughout Nigeria,” Danbatta said.
The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who was represented by a senior management staff at NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, said NITDA was able to develop several policies and frameworks that were driven by technology to seamlessly connect the Nigerian citizens in order to enhance e-government service delivery.
He said NITDA would continue to develop ideas that would not stifle regulation of the ICT sector. According to him, NITDA would continue to support the reduction of cost of technology deployment in the country, especially as it affects the cost of Right of Ways (RoWs) in service delivery.
Different panel sessions discussed the theme of the summit: ‘e-Government Adoption in Nigeria: Opportunities and Challenges’, with a view to preferring solutions and bridging the existing gap between government and technology service providers.
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