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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Galaxy to automate FEC’s memo

Plans are up by Galaxy Backbone Plc, to automate the information management system of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) before December 2010.

This would enable the council memos to be circulated to members online or electronically, ahead of its weekly meetings, among other benefits.

Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, gave this insight at a courtesy visit to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, accompanied by the management team of the company in Abuja.

He said that the implementation of the government-wide email service is designed to enhance secured communication between the Executive Council Office (EXCOF) and its members as well as to improve efficiency in the operations of the council.

“This will be Galaxy Backbone’s 50th independence anniversary gift to the country,” he declared.

ITRealms Online recalls that Galaxy Backbone is a public enterprise of the Federal
Government established in 2006 to build and operate a single nation-wide IP broadband network to provide network services to all Federal Government MDAs.

The company is also the provider of transversal infrastructure and services to all Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including the management of government data centers and databases, identity management, IP-telephony and other solutions, and will leverage the capacity of the network to provide connectivity, internet access and extend Government services to rural and underserved communities.

However, Ilukwe reiterated that his company is committed to achieving the government’s objectives in setting up the ICT company and has developed a single ICT platform concept which is a secure, common platform for addressing the connectivity and other technology imperatives of Government MDAs.

The platform, he said, is designed to achieve significant cost savings through economies of scale and reduce duplication in the system.

“It will also ensure the availability of skilled manpower to manage ICT facilities and services in government,” he said.

Ilukwe added that though it appears to be new in Nigeria, the concept is consistent with government policy and practice in many emerging economies such as South Africa, Mauritius, Iran, India, to name a few.

He cited for instance that the concept provides the technology platform to support government’s IT enabled transversal services.

Ilukwe further stated that Galaxy Backbone has installed 2900 remote sites nationwide under the NICEP project, while currently expanding fiber optic rollout of 200kms to cover all key MDAs in Abuja metropolis and this will be supported by terrestrial wireless radio infrastructure.

Mr. Ilukwe said that the company has completed the networking of Federal Secretariat phases 1 & 2 with 2500 nodes each and is providing Internet Access and Virtual Private Network services to over 250 MDAs nationwide. According to Ilukwe, “All Ministries Head quarters and key establishments in Abuja are currently serviced by Galaxy Backbone with connectivity to more than 70% of the MDAs since 2008.”

Mr. Gerald Ilukwe also mentioned that the Government Data Centre built and operated by Galaxy Backbone is currently hosting servers and applications for MDAs including NAN, Head of Service (HOS); pensions, PENCOM, Kaduna board of Internal Revenue to name a few, stressing that Galaxy Backbone is also providing consulting and professional Services to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Agriculture among others.

He therefore solicited the cooperation of the SGF in ensuring that MDAs comply with government’s directive that mandated them to secure their ICT requirements from Galaxy Backbone.

He also outlined some challenges before Galaxy, saying these include the absence of a strategic and holistic approach to ICT in Public Sector and Education as well as the prevailing culture of spending as opposed to cost-effective service delivery.

Ilukwe cited an instance the failure of budgetary provisions to match steep rise in demand for Galaxy Backbone’s services, power and other infrastructural issues in most MDAs, weak budgetary process which continues to encourage separate and wasteful approach to ICT services delivery in the public sector and the seeming reluctance by autonomous MDAs to comply with SGF circular on Galaxy’s mandate.

In his response, Alhaji Ahmed assured his visitors of the government’s support achieving its mandate and government objectives for setting up the company.

He urged the Galaxy team to work towards bringing about the expected efficiency in the running of government business through the provision of quality and value adding ICT services, advising them to develop a strategy to ensure the buy-in and support of its stakeholders.


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