The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills as critical needs for any national development to take place in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s President Muhamadu Buhari has acknowledged the crucial role technology play in the development of the various sectors of the nation’s economy underscoring the urgent need to invest in technological innovations to drive sustainable economic growth is non-negotiable.
According to the President “my administration will not neglect research; science and technology like past governments have done” while admitting that “no country could make progress without serious commitment to the development of science and technology”, according to a key policy document reviewed by Technology Times.
President Buhari who emphatically stated that Nigeria needs to use technology in the development of the agricultural sector, also said his administration will help and encourage farmers in the country to adopt modern, technology-driven methods that guarantee higher production and returns on investment.
According to the Federal Policy document, the thrust will be that in view of this commitment, The Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens which was launched 2011, has been signed by President Buhari, making Nigeria the 70th member and the 12th African nation to join the partnership.
The signing of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) was based on the fact that one of the major driving forces for the development blockade in Nigeria is lack of openness, transparency and accountability in governance, according to government.
The Federal Government explained that it was identified that if Nigeria’s government and citizens embrace open government principles in a tailored stakeholder engagement, then the blockades of lack of openness, transparency and accountability in governance will be dealt with. Reform will take place that will lead ultimately to effective policy, effective budget and effective implementation.
The signing of the OGP is also seen by government as a commendable move by the Buhari administration has taken advantage of the fourth principle of the OGP thus: technology and innovation, making it an obligation for governments to embrace the importance of new technologies in driving innovation, providing citizens with open access to technology and increasing their capacity to use technology.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria
But for Nigeria to further employ technological innovations in critical sectors of the economy such as health, security, education, among others, the Federal Government highlights the underlisted contributions made by technology in the country:
Technology has been deployed and being used in the present administration’s fight against corruption especially in the public service. The Integrated Personnel Information and Payroll System (IPPIS), has been deployed to contain phenomenon of ghost workers in the public service whereby non-existent workers draw salaries and allowances from Government coffers.
Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), an IT-based system for budget management and accounting has also been deployed to aid transparency of budgeting and accountability in the country’s public sector.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards developed by International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board, an accrual-based standards used for the preparation of general purpose financial statements by governments and other public sector entities around the world has been adopted in Nigeria.
Through these standards, an enhanced quality, consistency, and transparency of public sector financial reporting has been achieved in the country, according to the policy document.
The Offices of the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation in Nigeria also issue guidance and facilitates the exchange of information among accountants and others who work in the public sector and these steps promote the acceptance of Nigeria’s public sector accounting.
Under the plan, more investment in military and security technologies have been the hallmark of the present administration in Nigeria.
Investments have also been made in CCTV to monitor and gathering intelligence in public places and public facilities, government says underscoring that this surveillance tech are “now familiar to our people whilst drones and other sophisticated technologies have been deployed to secure sensitive public and oil and gas installations.”
Government also says that there have been improvements on the technical capacity of Nigerian Police Force as “we now have a forensic lab and GSM tracking device. We now have a more IT integrated Police force as well as IT-integrated public service and judicial system.”
Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Edozie