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Stakeholders in the telecommunications industry have identified inadequate fibre infrastructure, electricity and excessive regulations as impediments to electronic governance.

Speaking at Nigeria eGovernment Conference 2019, organised by DigiServe in Lagos, they said Africa still lagged behind with 37 per cent penetration in e-government process execution.

In his presentation, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Olusola Teniola, said Nigeria risked increasing the level of poverty if the challenges were not addressed.

He called for collaboration and partnerships, among the academia, government and private sector operators.

Without collaboration and partnership being fostered, he said, “We run the risk of defining and creating at best, islands of progressive digital communities and landscapes that are not interconnected under a ‘winner takes all attitude’, with negative socio-economic flaws.”

In a communiqué issued after the event, stakeholders in the industry highlighted ways technology solutions could drive governance and raise Internally Generated Revenue of state governments.

According to them, the introduction of e-government applications has been beneficial to governments at all levels and has helped them to provide e-government services to the people.

They therefore encouraged government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to adopt e-government tools.

Telecom experts at the event said there was a need to increase the number of fibre connectivity deployment from the current 42,000km to 127,000km in order to achieve e-government processes across the MDAs.

Nigeria, according to them, needs additional 30,000km of fibre infrastructure, aside the expectations from operators to expand fibre development.

The communique read in part, “Nigeria needs to deepen e-government by examining four dimensions as directed by International Telecommunication Union, which include: infrastructure, policy, governance and outreach dimensions. Nigeria needs policy that will protect local investors.”

“To achieve full e-government process, government must engage with the citizens, consider cost, freedom of individuals, short term gains and long term gains. Government must ensure automated process in governance, reduce manual process of accessing government activities, and make use of eGovernment processes to raise IGR in government.”

“Powering governance with ICT is key to achieving e-government, given that technology has been evolving and has compelled government to go digital in order to address the needs of the people and serve the citizenry better by using technology to reduce cost of governance and improve government services to the people.”

Panel discussants at the event urged the Galaxy Backbone to extend its e-government services beyond MDAs, to cover the private sector like homes, hospitals, schools and offices.

They noted that the regulators needed to monitor and control online businesses that generate revenue online without paying taxes.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Ife Ogunfuwa

Quelle/Source: The Punch, 12.11.2019

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