National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has urged federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to seek clearance from it before embarking on any Information Technology (IT) project.
The warning was issued on Monday in Abuja by the Director-General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami.
According to him, the clearance is in line with Section 6 of NITDA Act, 2007.
He stated that “a service-wide circular from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation also made NITDA the clearing house for all IT procurement in the public sector.”
Pantami noted that the objective of the clearance was, among other things, to ensure transparency in IT procurement by MDAs and other government establishments.
He said it was also aimed at aligning IT projects/investments with MDAs and other government establishments’ mandates and functions, as well as government IT shared vision and policy.
Furthermore, it was to integrate IT systems and services to save cost, promote shared services, inter-operability and improve efficiency and indigenous capacity for after-sales-service to sustain the project beyond the initial deployment.
The director-general said it was also to promote indigenous content and preference given to indigenous companies where capacity or the product or service exist, and ensure that the technology being implemented was up-to-date.
Pantami said the realistion that government’s investments in IT over the years were not commensurate with the value derived from such investments made the clearance imperative.
He added that the failure to evolve a digitally-enabled public service that would advance citizens’ yearnings of digital economy made it necessary for strategic repositioning of IT procurement in the public sector.
The NITDA boss said that the agency’s assessment of 2017 Appropriation Bill revealed that MDAs proposed to spend approximately 42,560,945,191 on IT projects, representing 2.1 per cent of the total capital budget of N2,048,989,578,222.
“It is therefore imperative 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.
“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.’’
NITDA is a federal establishment under Federal Ministry of Communications.
It was created in April 2001 to implement Nigeria’s Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country.