The National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA has commended the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for meeting the expectations and requirements of the Executive Order signed by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo, on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment designed to facilitate the ease of doing business in Nigeria as related to the use of ICT for service delivery.
Following NITDA’s earlier press statement on the Federal Ministries websites’ business friendly assessment, further evaluation of the websites of some agencies has confirmed that FIRS, JAMB and CAC are taking the lead at complying with the Presidential directives on the use of ICT to improve public service delivery in an efficient and transparent manner. The evaluation revealed that FIRS has fully digitized all its services ranging from registration to tax filing, payment, receipt, stamp duty and issuance of tax clearance certificates. It does not only publish on its websites all requirements and conditions for service provisioning and procurement activities but also has necessary feedback mechanisms to guarantee excellent service delivery. This includes a 24-hour help desk, SERVICOM (the Office of the National Taxpayer Advocacy), which enables taxpayers’ voice heard directly by the Executive Chairman; functional email addresses and state coordinators contact information. JAMB, on the other hand, has been able to demonstrate that efficiency and transparency can be achieved in public service delivery through complete adoption of ICT in the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). JAMB conducted a seamless and near 100 per cent Computer Based Test (CBT) UTME. This has not only reduced the incidences of examination malpractice witnessed in the past but has also put the country in line with global best practices. JAMB has fully digitized its operations to guarantee excellent service delivery. It has provided an integrated portal through which all the necessary information and resources needed to facilitate writing UTME to getting admission into a tertiary institution are provided. In addition, JAMB ensures requirements and conditions for these services are published and available on its website and/or portal. It also has functional feedback mechanisms which includes a 24-hour help desk as well as reachable contact information of national headquarters, headquarters annexes, zonal offices and the offices in the six geopolitical zones. Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has for quite some time now been working on facilitating the growth of the Nigerian business environment. It has completely automated the registration of business and company names and incorporated trustees through its web portal – the Companies Registration Portal (CRP). Not only has it achieved that, but it also published on its websites all requirements or conditions for obtaining services including all fees and timelines required for the processing of applications. In addition, CAC has feedback forms, reachable phone numbers and email addresses to ease the burden of business registration in Nigeria. In 2017, Nigeria was ranked 169 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. Inability to efficiently use ICT to run government businesses is one of the factors responsible for this low ranking. Therefore, the need for effective application of ICT in building a business friendly, transparent and efficient government in the country cannot be over emphasized. The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is an Agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications. The Agency was created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and co-ordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a, f & m) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; render advisory services in all information technology matters to the public and private sectors as well as advise Federal Government generally on matters and issues that are related to Internet governance. NITDA has been putting strategies in place to facilitate the application of e-Governance principles in addressing different national concerns such as corruption, economy, security and social integration. Some of such strategies are the standards and guidelines for government websites, technical support and advice to MDAs in the IT procurement process as well as issuance of clearance for MDAs’ IT projects. The goal is to ensure ICT is effectively integrated into all developmental agenda of governments at all levels, ensure efficiency in government service delivery by mitigating waste and mismanagement of government funds and ultimately ensure e-Government becomes a development resource for sustainable national development. The achievement by the three agencies is commendable. We implore other government institutions and MDAs to emulate these agencies by ensuring the complete adoption of ICT the most effective manner to facilitate transparent, accessible and responsive service delivery. This will go a long way toward facilitating ease of doing business in Nigeria.