Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isah Pantami

Director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isah Pantami, said the agency has saved over N13 billion for the federal government through its information technology project clearance for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Speaking in an interview on the sidelines on the ITU Telecom World 2018 which held last week in Durban, South Africa, he said MDAs are mandated to come to NITDA for their IT project clearance. “Firstly, what we usually do is to ask if there is value for money in the project itself.

“We make reference to the previous budget because some MDAs would continually repeat the same project every year. In IT, when you do a project, the next year you are to sustain and maintain it, but we don’t have that maintenance culture.

“The same project would be repeated every year, you see N1 billion, N1.5 billion, N2 billion, the amount is being incremented every year for the same project and that is the problem. We try to ensure that if the project was implemented last year, this year you are to maintain it not repeat it. And we know what is required to maintain it, it is not huge amount compared to what has been spent implementing the project.

“Secondly, we want to ensure whether you have the technical ability to manage the project itself. Thirdly, we want to know whether that budget is required or not because some of them partake in the project not because the project is required but to justify how to spend the money. That is the reality. Most of them discover that the best way to go the national assembly, present and defend their budge is through IT projects: said Pantami.

Meanwhile, the NITDA boss said the government has developed specific ICT policies to attract and retain investment. “At NITDA, we are implementing a Roadmap that is aimed at transforming Nigeria into a knowledge-based society. The 7 key pillars of our Roadmap are IT Regulation, Capacity Building, Digital Inclusion, Digital Job Creation, Government Digital Service Promotion, Local Content Development & promotion and Cybersecurity. We are open to investment in any of these areas.”

On attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), he said the federal government has established the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) which has already completed 31 reforms that make it easier to invest in Nigeria.

“Our investors can now obtain a visa-on-arrival and have a seamless and speedy process of registering their business in Nigeria,” he affirmed.

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