Nigeria’s s ICT regulator, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said it has saved the Federal Government a sum of N10 billion in less than one year through its insistence on clearance for ICT projects by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Director General of the agency, Dr. Isa Panatami, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo.
He said it is now mandatory for all MDAs to seek clearance of all IT projects and services from NITDA before procurement.
He said through this regulation, the agency has been able to block leakages in IT procurement by MDAs by at least 90 per cent. “MDAs are no more using ICT to siphon money unnecessarily. We may not stop them all but I can say at least 90 per cent has been blocked so far” he said.
“The first thing we started doing was to ensure that all IT projects in the MDAs are cleared, technically and professionally executed because before I came on board, many MDAs see that IT projects as a conduit for siphoning money because when they go for budget defence, most of our legislatures do not know what IT is all about. So, people find it easy to manipulate them and the budget passed with unnecessary questions. With this IT clearance, huge amount of money has been saved, about N10 billion so far, not to talk about the technical values added”.
Pantami said that their initial findings showed that many IT projects were riddled with the challenges such that IT projects was becoming a conduit pipe for siphoning huge public resources, poor conceptualisation and planning of many projects, which he stressed were done without clear sustainability plans. “Our goal at NITDA is to use the IT Projects Clearance process to correct the ills identified above and to further entrench IT product manufacturing and services in Nigeria’’ NITDA boss stated. ‘’I am delighted to report to this gathering that our collaboration with relevant government organisations on this initiative is already yielding positive fruits.
‘’For instance, the Office for the Auditor General of the Federation now issues audit queries to MDAs who refuse to get NITDA clearance before embarking on their IT projects while The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) is also partnering with us to investigate government agencies that might be breaching the NITDA guidelines and policies.”
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