By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the deployment of technology in service delivery is no longer a luxury but a necessity.
The President made this declaration yesterday while receiving the leadership of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPCN) and Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) led by its president, Prof. Charles Uwadia.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to use technology for enhanced public service delivery.
He said ‘‘technology in public service delivery is no longer a luxury, but a pressing necessity.’’
Noting that Information Technology is the driving force for social and economic change, the President told the IT professionals that his Government, through its actions, has demonstrated its commitment to convert these potentials to reality.
‘‘The future belongs to IT. What was unimaginable 20 years ago is a reality today. Accordingly, we have introduced numerous policies and have made substantial investments to ensure the benefits of this technology-driven age is felt by 200 million Nigerians.
‘‘Indeed, our strategy for inclusive economic growth can only be achieved by leveraging the technology tools available to us,’’ he said.
Buhari used the occasion of the courtesy visit by representatives of the computing and IT professionals in Nigeria to enumerate some benefits of using technological tools to implement government policies.
‘‘Already, we have seen the benefits of using technological tools for lending to farmers as well as monitoring crop performance especially in some of the more remote locations.
‘‘We also leveraged technology to fight corruption and reduce leakages and inefficiencies in public service delivery. You are all aware of the significant investments we made to upgrade our policy and military platforms as we battle pockets of insecurity in parts of the country.
‘‘Furthermore, our social investment programs are built on technological platforms that allow us to positively impact the lives of some of poorest members of our society,’’ he said.
The President, therefore, requested the computer body to continue to partner with Government at all levels to ensure the benefits of this tool are realised and at the same time its threats are eliminated.
In his remarks, Uwadia commended the President for demonstrating the political will to accelerate national IT development with his physical presence at the e-Nigeria conference and awards, on four consecutive occasions, over the years.
On behalf of IT professionals in the country, Uwadia expressed gratitude to President Buhari for appointing two seasoned professionals, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami and Kashifu Abdullahi as Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), respectively.
‘‘Your Excellency, we the IT professionals, commend you for the immense and giant strides that your administration has made and is still making in nation-building. Within the space of the past four years, you have achieved a lot, using the instrumentality of ICT,’’ he said.
The president of CPCN listed some outstanding achievements of the current administration in the sector to include: issuance of Executive Order (EO1) on the promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment, Executive Order (EO3) on Support for Local Content in Public Procurement by the Federal Government and Executive Order (EO5) on Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Local Content in Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology.
Others are unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy at the 2019 e-Nigeria conference, exhibition and awards; implementation and enforcement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS) which saved the Federal Government of Nigeria billions of naira by eliminating thousands of ghost workers.
Further, the Buhari administration was commended for the effective implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and increasing government revenue by over N3 trillion as well as entrenching transparency and accountability, among others.