05 Oct Nigeria: 60m smart phone users justify expansion of data centres – Minister Shittu
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 touches 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.