60m smart phone users justify expansion of data centres — Shittu

By Emmanuel Elebeke

MINISTER of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu, has said that over 60
million Nigerians now use smart phones, as he disclosed that internet users
have crossed the 90 million mark, while the mobile phone users have crossed
the 156 million mark. With this revolution, he said most Nigerians now book
their flight tickets, pay fees and taxes with relative ease.

Also from post office and banking transactions to issue of digital documents,
he said online registrations to online applications and e-services, digital
revolution is seen everywhere and touch almost every aspect of life of a
common citizen.

The minister who disclosed this while speaking at an event in Abuja recently
explained that efforts were on to expand the number of Data Centres in the
country as part of government’s plan to expand its presence on a digital
platform, 1-gov.net.

According to the minister, the platform, apart from consolidating existing
government ICT infrastructure, also enables MDAs to exchange data in a
seamless manner, while allowing each other to remain independent and
maintain its privacy and the security of its operatives.

The minister said through the 1-gov.net, government has become more
participative and accessible where citizens can participate in policy process
through discussions, suggestions and online-polls. “Various Government
Departments are using this platform for seeking inputs on a wide range of
issues. Using the 1-gov.net Platform, government has been able to save 30
percent of what it would have expended on a unit per unit cost. As at date
90 percent of all MDAs within Abuja are linked with fiber backbone and 3,500
locations of different MDAs have been touched across the country.

“About 270 MDAs websites and applications are being hosted on the network.
Government has recorded success in 1-gov.net, we now focus on some
services that have direct bearing on the present administration’s priorities,
and we determined to continue with the shared ICT infrastructure and
services initiative in the MDAs. The 1-gov.net is promoting Whole-of-
Government approaches in the information Age based on shared services.
This approach will enhance productivity of government officials, increase
experience of patrons of government services, enhance security and drive out
the menace of corruption,” he said.

Shittu said the government recognizes the urgent need to increase efficiency
and transparency, improve and align processes, smart government and smart
cities, attract new investors, bridge the digital divide, transform government
transaction services, data-driven government, better access to and
management of information, thereby enhancing citizen satisfaction and trust,
meeting the needs of rapidly changing demographics and balancing costs
while optimizing efficiency.

According to him, digital government is a vision statement that seeks to
bring about citizen empowerment by harnessing the potentials of ICTs as well
as seeking to transform government into digitally empowered society and
knowledge economy in a manner that government is available on the palm of
every citizen, where – The Government is open and the Governance
Transparent.

Digital Government, he said, does not comprise the digital architecture alone,
but it encompasses digital delivery of citizen-centric services, and ultimately,
digital empowerment of the people. He said that government invests in
shared ICT Infrastructure to secure the benefits of lower cost, increased
security, increased innovation and faster service delivery, adding that
government is supporting the development and sustenance of ICT
applications that are driving cost effectiveness and transparency in
Government Service Delivery.

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