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In addition to its primary function, which is to develop and regulate Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act, signed into law in 2007 according to Section 6 also mandates the Agency to serve as a clearing house for all I.T. procurement and services in the public sector.
Giving credence to the enactment of the Act, the Federal Government had on the 18th of April 2006, issued a Circular with number SGF/6/S.19/T/65, directing all Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) that are planning to embark on any I.T. project to obtain clearance from NITDA.
By way of reinforcing the Clearing House mandate of NITDA, the Federal Government again on 31st August, 2018, issued another Circular with number 59736/S.2/C.II/125, reiterating the need for all FPIS and other Government establishments to relate with and obtain prior approval from NITDA for the implementation of their I.T. Projects.
The executive directives signaled a remarkable milestone for the Agency as it turned around the prospects of the Nation’s investments in I.T. positively and shone the torch on duplicated projects that hitherto remained vague as well as guaranteed the creation and sustainability of indigenous capacity for after-sales-services.
Over the years, significant and unprecedented milestones have been achieved by the I.T. Projects Clearance (ITPC) Committee under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy with Prof. Isa Ali Pantami championing the course.
From the Memo presented by the Minister during Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council Meeting, Prof. Pantami recounted the achievements of the Committee in 2021 which included a total of 282 new I.T. applications for clearance, out of which 258 projects were successfully cleared and a total cumulative savings of ₦24,403,266,842.86, estimated at 343.2% increase in amount saved for the Federal Government compared to 2020 and an unprecedented 89.7% increase in the number of cleared projects compared to what was achieved in 2020 where 136 I.T. Projects were cleared.
Moreso, there was also a significant increase in the use of the I.T. Clearance Portal in the year 2021; with a total of 248 new users from 52 Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) registered on the portal.
Meanwhile, another cheering news emerged from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on March 9, 2022 as approval was given for the Implementation of Strategies for the Enhancement of the Quality of Government Digital Technology Projects and Services.
According to the Minister, the approval will enable the implementation of strategies for the enforcement of the Information Technology (I.T.) Project Clearance by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in accordance with the NITDA Act (2007).
“I.T. Projects are the backbone for effective e-Government development, their implementation facilitate transparency, efficiency, productivity, participation, inclusiveness, cost savings, and competitive advantage. These factors ultimately translate into social and economic development for any country. Therefore, in our drive towards the Digital Economy, effective implementation of these Projects is therefore no longer a choice but a must”.
To build on the successes achieved in 2021, the Agency, through the I.T. Projects Clearance (ITPC) Committee plans to achieve at least 10% increase in compliance by Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) through awareness and strengthening of the ITPC process.
Apart from looking forward to improving the functionality of the ITPC portal in order to increase transparency, accountability, and ease of submission of projects, the Agency is determined to collaborate with more relevant FPIS in strengthening compliance.
With the Council’s backing and approvals of key prayers captured in the Memo; NITDA under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has taken its quest of going the extra mile in achieving it’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP- 2021-2024) in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria a notch higher.