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NITDA not circumventing 2017 budget process

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Worried by trending news on Social Media that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is circumventing due process requirements in the implementation of the 2017 approved Budget, the agency has denied the news as baseless.

A statement issued by Dr. Agu Collins Agu, director, Corporate Planning and Strategy, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said the falsehood being circulated is aimed at discrediting the laudable efforts of the current management.

The statement read in parts: “The Agency has, since assumption of office of the current Director General/CEO, been making frantic efforts at fighting all elements of corrupt practices within and outside the Agency,

“It is on record that in an effort to ensure transparency and accountability, the current Director General, Dr. Isah Ibrahim Pantami, is the only Chief Executive in history that implemented almost 100 percent of the Auditor General for the Federation’s audit recommendations regarding irregularities in the Agency without being compelled;

“As a man of proven integrity who vowed to do all he can in supporting Mr. President’s fight against corruption in all forms, both within and outside the Agency, the Director General sought the support of anti-corruption Agencies such as the EFCC and ICPC in fighting corruption in IT procurements in government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) as well as other government establishments;

“It may be of interest to note that officials from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation visited the Agency last week and gave an excellent commendation to the Director General and the Management Team for their efforts at following due process as well as excellent documentation of all financial transactions;

“As for patronizing Galaxy Backbone, it is the Agency’s backup internet provider and when the Agency’s primary provider was down Galaxy upgraded its services to the Agency for 10 days at no extra cost;

“When NITDA’s primary provider cuts off its services, Galaxy was able to immediately upgrade the Agency’s pipe to fill the gaps;

“In an effort to set the record straight, in the Agency’s 2017 Budget, a provision of ninety five million naira (N95m) was approved for internet connectivity for its Headquarters, two annex offices in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt offices based on what the Agency has been paying its primary provider and its projected capacity upgrade.

“To our surprise, when the Agency contacted Galaxy Backbone to quote for the same Internet, it was found out Galaxy’s offer was 60% cheaper than what the Agency has been paying over the years.

“Thus, the Agency expanded the project’s specification to include some value added services that will make her to optimally use its Internet connectivity.

“As a result, the following were added to the Galaxy quotation to ensure full utilization of the provision. Video conferencing facility; IP Phones for two Annex offices in Abuja as well as Lagos and Port Harcourt offices; Network infrastructure to enable Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity between the Agency’s Headquarters and its other offices (two annex offices in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt), Technical Staff Training to ensure adequate capacity to effectively manage the infrastructure; and LAN audit.

“It is on record that so far no contract has been awarded in the Agency as a result of the Director General’s efforts of ensuring that due process has been followed;

“And the above therefore goes to show that what was circulated on the Social Media is a frantic effort of corruption fighting back. It should be noted that the Agency is encouraged by it and will continue its giant strides of fighting corruption.