Monday, September 27, 2010

C/River, Interswitch enter deal on SmartGov initiative

The Cross River State Government and InterSwtich Nigeria Limited have entered deal to deliver on a joint venture to be known as Smart Government Cross River (SmartGovCRSG) Limited.

Making this disclosure, weekend at the end of a signing ceremony in Calabar, the chief executive officer, Interswitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, said that the deal is determined to improve accountability in governance, simplify access to social services and create a robust social safety net for citizen of the state.

He also said that the partnered would see Interswitch developing a state-wide identity management and e-payment backbone infrastructure, to be executed through a joint venture company, SmartGov.CRSG Limited.

The mandate of SmartGov.CRSG, he said, includes to oversee the design, deployment, management and operations of infrastructure for the state.

“SmartGov.CRSG will be working in collaboration with OneSecureCard, a front-end partner for the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC),” he disclosed.

According to him, the SmartGov initiative allows the state government to leverage its investments in technology, automate its ministries, department and agencies, identify all citizens and residents, track and monitor usage of social services, enhance internally generated revenue and automate disbursements and payments by government.

The infrastructure, he outlined to comprise citizen’s information system, electronic payment gateway, smartcard management system, risk and fraud management system and an enterprise (data exchange) service-oriented bus.

He explained that biometric-based identity smartcity cards would be issued to citizens and residents under the SmartGov project and would contain cardholders’ information while providing cardholders with access to healthcare, pension, transportation, educational bursaries, social amenities and benefits.

Equally, the SmartGov initiative would enable Cross River State to identify its citizens, grow revenue, eliminate wastage, simplify governance and increase access to government services.

“The smart card would enable cardholders in the state to pay taxes and levies conveniently from the comfort of their homes and offices, using multiple channels such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and the world wide web (www).

“The method would ensure prompt payment receipt; encourage accountability and transparency within the state,” he explained.

Elegbe, while commending the Cross River State government led by Imoke, said the success of the project is hinged on the governor’s commitment to employ automation and digitization as a means of improving government efficiency and ensuring accountability in the management of state resources.

“With this project, Cross River State and Interswitch are writing history as this is the first time a state government would embark on a project of this magnitude using technology. At Interswitch, we appreciate the commitment of His Excellency, Governor Imoke to improving the effectiveness of government and providing benefits to the citizenry.”

ITRealms Online gathered that speaking at the signing ceremony at the Government House, Calabar, Gov. Liyel Imoke described the project as a reflection of a new way of doing business in the state, stressing that the government would continue to partner with private sector to improve on service delivery, which helps to make a difference in the lives of the citizen.

Additionally, Imoke said that the success of the project would be a success story for the combined effort between the public and private sectors.

In his comment, the Special Adviser to the governor on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Mr. Odo Effiong noted that the SmartGov initiative had the potential to increase manifold qualitative and quantitative access to various government socio-economic services and that the programme had been in gestation for over a year.

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