Even as the federal government continues to grapple with a massive revenue crisis, amplified by widespread corruption, the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has been urged to implement holistic electronic governance solution to drive greater levels of efficiency, transparency and accountability at all levels of government. This call is coming weeks after President Buhari disclosed that an estimated $150 billion had been stolen in the Nigerian government and stashed in foreign banks over the last 10 years. According to the experts, massive usage of e-government solutions should help reduce cases of financial frauds and economic mismanagement in government circles. The experts made the calls in their various submissions at a two-day E-Government Summit 2015 held in Abuja last week.
While speaking as the special guest at the event, Willie Obiano, governor, Anambra State, maintained that the adoption of e-government in Anambra, especially in the area of tax collection has raised the Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from less than N1 billion to its current N1.1 billion monthly with the sole objective of increasing the IGR target to N3 billion monthly. “In Anambra, our aggressive pursuit of a vision and mission strategies through an efficient use of ICT has attracted an inflow of investment to the tune of N2.4 billion to Anambra State in the past one year.
“The whole idea is to use government machinery to channel private sector interest to the advantages of the citizens by making the environment conductive through efficient use of ICT to achieve this.”
The conference, which brought together experts from different sectors of the economy cutting across financial services, Information and Communication Technology, agriculture, amongst others, was organised by the E-Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN), in collaboration with the Financial Services Strategy (FSS) 2020 and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Speaking at the forum, Suleiman Barau, deputy governor at CBN, said the apex bank’s introduction of electronic transaction policies was meant to ensure efficiency in financial transactions and curb financial corruption in the system. He said while the federal government and its paratstatals have also embraced several ICT-related initiatives in recent past in their services, with resultant cost-saving and ability to plug the leakages in its financial dealings, “there is an urgent need to popularise wider and holistic embrace of e-government in its totality.”
He noted that with the passage of three major bills relating to electronic transactions in Nigeria by the sixth National Assembly, the road is now clear for e-payment landscape in the country to exhibit increased sanity. Oluwatoyin Joko, head, programme office, FSS2020, explained that the collaboration with E-PPAN was considered critical as it allows FSS2020 Office to see how it can better re-organise the major markets of financial market, insurance, pension and mortgage and agriculture and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) using e-government as strategy. “Beyond restructuring all these sectors, we also know that cases of financial corruptions, as we have been told to have witnessed in the last 10 years by Mr President where about $150 billion was said to have been stolen and taken outside the country, would be minimised,” he said.