Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Neptune boss urges FG to introduce e-invoice

MANAGING Director, Neptune Software Limited, Mr. George Agu has urged the federal government to introduce electronic invoice (e-invoice) to straighten the recently commenced electronic payment (e-payment) in the nation’s public service sector.

He also called on the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to emulate the Nigerian Army by embracing the deployment of biometric system in its processes, especially in engagement and disengagement of personnel.

Making these calls in Lagos, weekend, Mr. Agu told ITRealms Online that the federal government should go beyond the recently introduced e-payment to e-invoice to nip the bottleneck currently experienced in the execution of contracts and payments in the public service in the bud.

According to him, in a situation whereby a contractor, finishes his part of the bargain and submits invoice manually does not depict a well thought-out e-payment solution, because the processes have become partly electronic and partly manual.

He also said the danger is that even the seriousness of the government to implement e-payment, that manual invoicing does not help in making the process faster, but rather it delays it and thus making mess of processes and objectives.

He pointed out that by introduction of e-invoice, it would help to speedy payment process as is the primary gains of deploying Information Technology (IT), especially in a populated nation like Nigeria.

Additionally, this would help in monitoring when the invoice was submitted, processed and therefore traceable whenever the need arises, stressing that there are remote solutions, for instance, to monitor pipelines and detect interferences.

Mr. Agu acknowledged that the e-payment debut meant that the government means well for the populace, mostly for those in the public sector in order to simplify their work.

“In e-payment, government is doing well and today, cheques are not being diverted,” he declared.

Equally, Mr. Agu invited the Nigeria Police Force to take after the Nigerian Army by embarking on biometric technology deployment which benefits are immeasurable to the security agencies and the nation at large.

As said by him, this has assisted the Army in check-mating the authenticity of its personnel both serving and pensionable, therefore weeding out ghost workers and fake pensioners respectively.

This could be done through auditing of the personnel nationwide, noting that Mexico was transformed due to adoption of biometric systems.

“NPF should join the Army by embarking on biometric enrollment process,” Agu said, noting that this could help them to manage their personnel so as to manage the Nigerian populace efficiently.

The next level for Nigeria Police, he said, is to look towards technology, mostly by making use of single device to help them check crimes like validation of drivers’ license, asserting that “This device is available,” especially in deployment of Wireless Area Network (WAN) in all major locations of the NPF.

He stressed that in order to ensure perfect operation, Neptune Software partnered two international companies, namely the German-based Crossmatch and Indian TigerIT.

The Neptune Software boss, also acknowledged that government’s adaptation to Information Technology have grown in recent past, and cut across all tiers of the government.

For instances, Mr. Agu said that the introduction and management of taxation in the country through online, calls for praise on the part of the government.

Evaluating the industry in the last one year, Mr. Agu said Neptune Software has made some in-roads, mostly the micro-finance sub-sector of the economy, even as he listed some of the challenges facing the microfinance banks to include poor budget, capacity building and corporate governance.

He explained that most employees of microfinance banks in the country do not have the requisite technological manpower development to make the activities of the microbanks run adequately with less operational cost.

Further, he said that based on their start-up capital of about N20 million, which he described as too small given the kind of economic activities they were expected to participate actively, hence, their budgets cannot be said to be otherwise, maintaining that good corporate governance cannot take root in a poorly financed entity.

“We’re yet the only company in Nigeria offering a multi-model solution to microfinance,” he said, pointing out that Microfinance banks have a choice to make either to toe the line of ICT tools for development or remain static.

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