Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
NEEDS: Adoption of a Failing NITDA IT Policy
Thursday, June 10, 2004
An article by LEA BREGAR and TANJA DMITROVIC, both of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, writes:
“Modern (horizontal) industrial policy builds on a wide array of micro-and macroeconomic measures often directed towards the creation and utilisation of intangible resources of competitiveness. This increases the complexity of linkages with other “policies” and creates additional challenges for a successful evaluation and monitoring of the effectiveness of a specific policy measure. It also requires a coordinated effort of several public offices and institutions in their implementation”
The linkages talked about above can be seen
in the way that the Nigerian National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) has wholly integrated the National IT Policy within the framework of the Nigeria’s National Economic Policy.
The core ICT policy focus of the NEEDS document bellow, are essentially Policy iterations:
A) Develop and sustain a modern information and communication technology capacity that is conducive to private sector driven growth and economic development, improve quality of life and affect the level of poverty significantly.
B) Improve access to Internet connectivity and raise the level of computer usage and literacy.
C) Facilitate the development of a national multimedia super corridor including provision of appropriate incentives for private sector involvement
D) Aggressively promote ICT as an instrument of mass education, growth and development.
Thus, there is evidence of intricate policy integration, as both NEEDS and the Nigerian IT Policy seem to have outlined similar Information Technology development strategic goal paths.
Most would agree that Information Technology reliance
has become an intricate part of Economic Development, Information Technology is the driving force behind modern productivity, efficiency, and performance effectiveness. Thus, for NEEDS to be successful, the Information Technology Development strategy must also be effective. The infusion of the Nigerian IT Policy into NEEDS, must provide clear capacity for attaining an effective national Information Technology development.
The underlying question then becomes that of performance of the Nigerian IT Policy. Does the implementation and performance of the NITDA’s IT policy merit it’s adoption into the NEEDS strategic plan? If not, why did NEEDS adopt a failing IT policy?
The adoption of the Nigerian IT Policy, as a component of the NEEDS strategy does not seem to necessarily argument an effective Information’s Technology development policy that must be the critical driving force behind the successful implementation of Nigeria’s National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy.
It was in March 2001, that the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria (FEC), approved the National Information Technology Policy. At that time, the vision statement within the policy was articulated as: “to make Nigeria an IT capable country in Africa and a key player in the Information Society by the year 2005, using IT as the engine for sustainable development and global competitiveness”
It is now 2004, and there is clear indication that NITDA’s implementation of the national IT policy will not meet the performance expectations needed to achieve sustainable Information Technology development. It will now take an act of God to make Nigeria an essential player in Information Society by the Year 2005. Generally, NITDA’s implementation of the IT policy should be seen as a failure.
With very little time left before reaching 2005, NITDA
has failed to deliver a successful implementation of most of its core objectives. Rather, what NIDTA has done, is hold a barrage of seminars; E-Nigeria, E-judiciary, etc.
The promises of making technology resources readily available by 2005 predictably will not materialize.
Valuable National Information technology infrastructure, such as SAT-3 Fiber Backbone are still underutilized. An article by Harry Goldstein noted: “built and laid at a cost of US $640 million, the submarine SAT-3 fiber-optic cable is 14 350 km long and links 9 African countries. It connects to the wider world just outside of Cape Town, South Africa, via a cable that terminates in Cochin, India, and Penang, Malaysia. SAT-3 has a capacity of 120 Gb/s, enough to carry 5.8 million phone calls simultaneously, and the link to Nigeria was established here on Victoria Island a year ago. Yet after a year’s availability, it has just one confirmed customer, Shell Oil, Table Evaluating IT Policy performance and Implementation with another oil company, Chevron, showing some interest”
NITDA’s Mobile Internet Unit program (MIU), will also
have no significant impact on Nigeria’s technology development. With only six mobile buses deployed, and no clear program curriculum, the MIU’s should really be seen
a travelling technology circus parading the country, and depreciating with every mile traveled.
So, the question then becomes, why did the architects of NEEDS, adopt NITDA’s IT Policy? Why did a failing Information’s Technology Policy become part of the Nigerian National Economic Development strategy? Typically, one
Would expect the NEEDS people to have reviewed the performance of the IT Policy before adopting it.
The following informal review of NITDA’s IT Policy
clearly indicates that the Nigerian IT Policy has no clear direction. Most of NITDA’s objectives are either at preliminary phases, or offer no tangible impact on National Technology development. NITDA has become the master of “E-This” and “E-That”. Coining phrases like: E-Judiciary, E-Purse, E-Payments, E-Crimes, E-Billing, E-Publications, E-Research, E-cash, E-banking, E-Government, E-Nigeria, E-health, E-education, E-commerce, E-Procurement, E-Pricing, E-Policing, and E-Buka, yet failing to deliver meaningful E-commerce performance.
Informal Performance Review of NITDA’S IT Policy
The above informal review is not alone, a formal study conducted in 2003, by the Economist Intelligence Unit IBM revealed that “E-business in Nigeria faces serious obstacles: inadequate telecoms infrastructure, unreliable power supply and authorities who, by and large, lack
the means to push e-business forward”
 See, http://www.ems.ed.ac.uk/irspmvi/abstracts/bregar-dmitrovic78.pdf
 See, http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/WEBONLY/wonews/jun03/fibopt.html
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