Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Federal Government to Unveil e-Government Master Plan for Government Bodies in September.

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Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, yesterday in Abuja, said government had concluded plans to unveil a new e-Government Master Plan for all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), in September.

According to her, the new framework, which will harmonise all activities and operations of all MDAs, under one portal is at the final stage of conclusion, adding that the new portal came about as a result of an all inclusive wide range stakeholders meeting across public, private and cross country consultations.

Johnson made the disclosure through the Director of e-Governance in the ministry, Mr. Tope Fadeshemi, in a workshop on “Africa Domain Name System Forum 2014” and organised by the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) in conjunction with Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN), as well as the Internet Society.

The Minister said the new platform would now be coordinated under one portal instead of everybody working in silos with different e-engine platforms. “Instead of everybody just coming up with different initiatives and just like the ICT policy, this would be the framework, we are actually taking time to go round all those MDAs that have been doing one thing or the other so that we can have a record of what we are doing.

“This is being done through coordinated workshops that include all public and private stakeholders so that we can come up with the best practices on e-government plan, and this will be unveiled in September,” she said.
According to her: “We are hopeful that in a couple of months, when we aggregate the reports and it is fine-tuned with inputs from all the states because some governments are also advancing in the area of technology deployment.So we are looking hopefully at September.”

As part of the project, she added that the ministry would move to set up an e-governance training centre across the country, explaining that it would be a world class ICT centre.

Johnson averred that government had recorded tremendous milestones in e-governance, but a lot of people do not realise this, explaining that when the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS), decided to embark on the registration of the international passport, which now takes just few days, it wasn’t just a one off thing, it was a whole system of biometric application that went behind it. This was a plus to the newly created ministry of Communications Technology, she added.

“We also have the NIMC in their data base and the Integrated Payment Payroll System of government. This has helped to eliminate a lot of corrupt practices in the system, saving government billions of Naira. Contractors don’t just come up with a list and get paid.

“The payment comes directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), before you get paid and you must have gone through the biometric system before you get paid and now you are sure that it is only the real person that get paid. And so e-governance now entrenched in the system, nobody can just come and take money from the system.” she said.

In a remark, the President of NIRA, Mrs. Mary Uduma, said the agency had carried out an aggressive campaign on the need for MDAs and Nigerians to switch to. gov.ng since 2012, adding that the Minister had urged all MDAs to switch to the new portal as government is migrating to .ng.
On the registration of domain names, she said, “presently we have about 60,000 domain registered, though we have not been able to meet the target in terms of registration, adding that .ng now has about the active 50,000 registration.

“The business in Africa is still untapped and it is a multi-billion naira business. For instance, if you are able to register 100,000 Nigerians, as a reseller per annum that gives you N100 billion.  And that is the main reason why we are creating this awareness so that we can create a lot of jobs and stop the loss of foreign exchange to other countries.”

According to her, the disadvantage of using foreign domain names is the loss of capital flight out of the country, adding however, that government has concluded arrangement to start hosting domain names locally.
Uduma said the backbone for efficient domain registration has to do with the server, the power and the connectivity. However, the lack of constant power issue has affected the growth and this is why hosting in Nigeria is expensive because they have to cover the cost of power generation, she added.

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