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Experts describe technology in government as game changer for development


Adedoyin Odunfa

Governments at all levels must adopt e-governance in order to effectively serve the citizens, particularly the poor and most vulnerable.

Experts at the 67th edition of the Digital Jewels’ Information Value Chain Forum held in Lagos, canvassed for people to be more involved in the design and use of public services to improve their well-being, and stressed the need to increase public access to the Internet and promote digital literacy.

The discussion, which focused on “Technology in Government: Lagos State as a Case Study,” was led by the Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Olufemi Odubiyi, while the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewels Limited, Adedoyin Odunfa, delivered a presentation on “Technology in Government: A Game Changer?”

Odubiyi said that a major purpose of the Lagos Smart-City project was environmental security, adding that the State Government had recorded several logged incidences with the numbers on the increase.

He explained that the Smart-City project involved “laying fibre optic cables across the state, and building a metro-network where parastatals are connected.”

The commissioner described the Smart-City project as a transformation to be achieved through technology to enhance the ease doing business, adding that it involved stationing of security cameras around the state, which would bring together ‘force-responders’.

He, however, cautioned about the threat of cyber-security breaches to the critical infrastructure in the cyberspace around the city, saying that the use of technology would make reporting of security incidents easy to reach, and promote access to major stakeholders in the government.

On the deployment of technology, Odubiyi urged private individuals to partner with government on the use of technology to ease the way security incidents are reported as well as enhance exposure to capacity development and training.

In her own intervention, Odunfa declared that although Nigeria had the highest level of Internet penetration in Africa; it was not among the top 10 e-governance countries in the continent, according to the UN eGovernment Survey 2016.

She counselled that there was quite a lot Nigeria could explore and achieve with the use of technology.

She said: “Technology can be used not only to facilitate integrated policies and services that will allow access to a range of public services, but to also improve standards of living through online service delivery. This comes in various forms such as tax submission and registration of businesses, reducing the administrative burden on the public and private sectors and improving transparency. E-governance effectively deployed can have significant impact on poverty reduction and increase the efficiency of public institutions.”

Odunfa was also of the opinion that open government data would make public institutions more inclusive, effective, accountable and transparent, where data would be made available online for free. In addition, e-participation would promote participatory decision-making and service delivery such as creating new engagement models through media and community mapping as well as seek partnership for shaping policymaking through online consultations.

The Global Information Technology Report 2016, states that the world is in the fourth industrial revolution where processing and storage capacities are rising exponentially and knowledge is becoming accessible to more people than ever before in human history.

Given this reality, Odunfa explained that the future held an even higher potential for human development as the full effects of new technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, 3-D Printing, energy storage, and quantum computing would unfold.

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