Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Nigeria spent $18.7bn last year on ICT

THE Federal Government (FG) spent a total of N16 billion (about $18.7bn.) on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) last year, 2007.

The Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG) of the Federation, Amb. Baba Gana Kingibe, made this disclosure in his address to a two-day first public sector ICT infrastructure forum, held at the Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja, Tuesday by his office and Galaxy Backbone Plc.

He said that analysis of the 2007 federal budget showed that a total of N12 billion was appropriated for ICT projects and services.

According to him, further N4 billion was provided for outside the budget from donors and other sources.

He also said that these expenditures did not realize the gains that are commensurate in governance and national development.

“It is this reason that a key expectation of this administration is that the operation of Galaxy Backbone Plc will lead to more cost effective ICT service delivery.

As said by him, a further analysis of ICT expenditure in the last few years revealed several instances of expensive duplication of procurements.

This, he said, could be traced to ignorance of existing infrastructure caused by lack of cohesion in planning and approval of projects.

Amb. Kingibe further said that Yar’Adua administration is characterized by thoroughness and frugality and consequently requires that all planned expenditure on ICT must first of all take cognizance of existing infrastructure and systems as well as convince government of the absolute necessity to make the desired procurements.

“Inter-ministerial or inter-agency rivalry that results in duplication of expenditure is wasteful and will not be tolerated,” he warned.

SFG, therefore urged the Budget office of the federation and Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) to always require that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) provide detailed information relating to their proposed expenditure, capital projects or recurrent.

He also enjoined Budget Office and BPP to collaborate with Galaxy to ensure that these in any ministries do not duplicate existing or reusable assets.

Kingibe pointed out that as the government deepens usage of ICT security becomes a major consideration and so critical.

“It becomes important that critical information cannot be stored or transmitted through unsecure and unprotected third party providers,” he said, stressing that another major reason why government insists that all public institutions must procure their network and internet access through the service platform operated by Galaxy

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