By G9ija

President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration saved over N16.8 billion in the past one year, following the directive he issued that all government funded-ICT projects must be reviewed and cleared by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

He said his administration’s goal was to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of government procurement processes, adding that the government’s steps had saved cost and reduced corruption.

President Buhari spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the e-Nigeria 2019 ICT Conference at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

He expressed delight that the priority attention given to the ICT sector had yielded positive results in the Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

The President hoped the re-designation of the Ministry of Communications to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy would yield the desired results.

He said: “The second quarter report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for 2019 showed that the Information and Communications Technology sector contributed an impressive 13.85 per cent to the GDP of Nigeria.

“This clearly shows the importance and potential of the ICT sector to our job creation and economic diversification agenda.

“Already, Nigerian ICT start-ups are leaving their mark on the global stage. For example, at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), a Nigerian Artificial Intelligence solution provider, Chiniki Guards, took first place, beating 750 contestants from 73 countries.

“We shall continue to encourage and support such digital entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions for local and global challenges.

“In public service, the digitisation of key activities, such as the use of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), has enabled us to save cost and fight corruption.

“Today, I am informed that over 9.2 million SIM cards have either been normalised, blocked or deactivated in less than 40 days due to improper registration. We encourage all Nigerians to ensure that their phones are properly registered. As a government, our priority is to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians.

“…You will all recall that at e-Nigeria 2018 conference, we directed that all government-funded ICT projects must be reviewed and cleared by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

“Our goal was to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government procurement processes. Today, I am informed that through this directive, government has saved over N16.8 billion. I want to encourage the Ministry and NITDA to sustain this tempo.”

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, praised the president for his support and encouragement, saying there are other steps being taken by the president that would further promote the nation’s economy through job creation, development of infrastructures and capacity building of the workforce.