By Martin Ekpeke
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has again warned Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as other government establishments to seek its clearance before embarking on any Information Technology (IT) project.
The NITDA’s warning is coming on the heel of a revelation that a whooping N42,560,945,191.00, which represents a 2.1 per cent of the total capital budget of N2, 048,989,578,222.00 will be spent in Information Technology projects by the MDAs.
In a statement signed by its Director General, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the IT clearing house believe that Section 6 of the NITDA Act, 2007 as well as Service-wide Circular from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation empowers it to give clearance to MDAs before embarking on any IT Project.
“We are therefore calling on MDAs and other government establishments to ensure that their IT projects in the 2017 Appropriation Act are put forward for clearance before implementation. It should be noted that a breach of the provision of NITDA Act and any other directive pursuant to the Act is an offence under Section 17 and punishable under Section 18 of the Act,” the statement said.
NITDA argues that government’s investments in IT over the years were not commensurate with the value derived from such investments and had also failed to evolve a digitally-enabled public service. Thus, the insistence on seeking clearance to ensure that maximum value is derived from such huge investment of public funds, especially at a time when the need for accountable, transparent, efficient and effective public spending is high on the current administration’s agenda.
According to the statement, the objectives of the clearance exercise are to ensure among other things transparency in IT procurement by MDAs and other government establishments; alignment of IT projects/investments with MDAs and other government establishments’ mandates and functions as well as government IT shared vision and policy.
Others are integration of IT systems and services to save costs, promote shared services, interoperability and improve efficiency; creating indigenous capacity for after-sales-service to sustain the project beyond the initial deployment.
NITDA also argued that the clearance will promote indigenous content and that preference is given to indigenous companies where capacity or the product or service exists and that the technology being implemented for the project is up-to-date.
The technology and services being procured are suitable for the country from the point of view of security and the environment, among others.