FG to Tackle Corruption through NITDA’s Automated IT Projects Clearance Process for MDAs

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NITDA’s Automated IT Projects Clearance Process
NITDA DG, Dr. Isa Ali Ibarahim Pantami

“NITDA as the clearing House of IT Projects in Nigeria has been mandated to clear all IT Projects in line with the policy objectives of the Federal Government to maximize transparency and accountability in carrying out IT Projects by Public Institutions.” A report on the agency’s official website states.

With this mandate, all Public Institutions planning to embark on any IT project shall obtain clearance from NITDA. However, in her ingenuity, the directorate of The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has automated the IT projects clearing process for government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as other government owned companies. The automated process will help to fast-track waiting time for which MDAs could get approval for their IT Projects before they commence execution of such projects.

“The realization that over the years, the public funds that were spent on IT Projects were not commensurate with the value derived from such Projects and had also failed to evolve a digitally-enabled public service that will advance the citizens’ yearnings of digital economy, hence the need to strategically reposition the deployment of IT Products and Services in Public Institutions. 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 accountability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness is eminent.” The report further stated.

In the latest development, itedgenews.ng reports that “An official statement issued in Abuja recently warns that “MDAs, all government owned companies and other federal public institutions” which fail to comply to the IT projects clearing process risk breaching the NITDA’s regulations, deemed a criminal offence punishable under the NITDA Act 2007.

In the statement signed by the Director General/CEO, NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), the agency said the clearance process will further help to prevent mismanagement of public funds and reduce incidences of corruption associated with IT public procurement.

Part of the statement reads:

The Agency, in line with its mandate to regulate the practice of Information Technology (IT) in the public sector, issued statements in November 2016 calling on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other establishments of the Federal Government to submit for clearance IT Projects to be executed before commencement of such projects.

On this site you can also read: ICT’s Role in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria’s Niger Delta

The clearance process is designed to, among others:

track Government spending in IT and ensure synergy in National investments;
ensure the availability of accurate statistics on Government’s IT assets and Investments to help government make informed IT decisions
prevent mismanagement of public funds and development of projects in silos where significant resources can be integrated to save costs, promote shared services, interoperability and improve efficiency; and

ensure that the technology being implemented is up to date and suitable for the country from the point of view of security and the environment.
The IT Projects Clearance regulation is designed to ensure that IT projects are properly conceptualized and executed in line with global best practices. Furthermore, it is designed to support Mr President’s fight against corruption by curbing the wastages and mismanagement of public funds on frivolous IT projects. The unanimous verdict of MDAs and other Federal Public Institutions that have gone through the process is that, in addition to compliance with Federal Government directives, it is worthwhile and value adding. Furthermore, the process facilitated a saving of over 13 billion naira to the Federal Government.

The automation of the process enhances transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in the process of obtaining clearance.

Henceforth, MDAs, government owned companies and other federal public institutions are expected to submit their projects via the IT Projects Clearance portal.

It may be recalled that a Federal Government Circular 59736/S.2C.II/125 of 31st August, 2018 and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, mandates all MDAs to submit their IT Projects for clearance by NITDA. It went further to state that Government Agencies should ensure “…strict compliance as future non-compliance will be considered a violation, which will be appropriately sanctioned….”

NITDA’s Automated IT Projects Clearance Process
President Muhammadu Buhari, President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Furthermore, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, during the 2018 edition of the e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition in November, directed that “…Defaulters of IT Clearance among the public establishments are to be reported to government….”

MDAs, all Government owned companies and other Federal Public Institutions are therefore advised to comply with these directives as non-compliance constitutes a breach of the Agency’s regulations and is considered a criminal offence, punishable under the NITDA Act 2007. Further information can be found on the Agency’s website.

The NITDA is a Federal Government Agency established in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy as well as coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a, b & c) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; provide guidelines to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of appropriate infrastructure for information technology and systems application and development in Nigeria for public and private sectors, urban-rural development, the economy and the government; and render advisory services in all information technology matters to the public and private sectors public including introducing appropriate information technology legislation.” The website reports.

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