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FG’s Websites Inactive despite Gulping N20Bn

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Many federal ministries and agencies (MDAs) lack active websites despite spending billions of naira on information technology last year.

 

Daily Trust investigations show that two key agencies under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology are absent online.

 

One of them is the National Space Research Development Agency (NASDRA), which is responsible for Nigeria’s space programme and policy development of space science and technology.

 

Another key agency absent online is the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI). A part of its mandate is to synergise with other related agencies to commercialize Nigeria’s indigenous products in the areas of technology and business management.

 

Similarly, the website of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) is rarely updated. When Daily Trust reporter visited it last night, the former Director General of the agency, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, whose tenure ended about two months ago, was still displayed on the website, as the DG.

 

Even the link to the press release that announced the appointment of Mr Abayomi Oguntade as acting DG on January 28, 2018, was not found on the website.

 

Almost all the menus on the website were either not active or found, or outrightly blank. Of the 10 menus on the website, only that of the ‘Office of the DG’ was active.

 

Even at that, of the six sub-menus under it, only the  one with the DG’s profile was active. All the remaining ones were blank.

 

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development website is active only half way as most of the sections are blank.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari administration is giving priority to agriculture, but there is very scant information regarding that on the website when our reporter checked last night.

 

Though there was provision for agencies, research institutes and colleges in the website, only the link to agencies display the agencies under the ministry.

 

Even then only about three of the agencies have an active link that will take you to their websites. The hyperlink for research institutes and colleges was blank when Daily Trust visited last night.

 

The value chain sub-sectors were also not updated, apart from the names of the items displayed. The addresses of the ministry’s state offices were also not available. The last press release posted on the ministry’s website was dated January 26, 2018.

 

The website of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) is also displaying outdated and wrong information. For instance, under ‘Special Advisers’ only two names were displayed even though there are dozens of them, as of last night.

 

The displayed information was also wrong. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, was addressed on the SGF’s website as special adviser on ‘new media’ to the president.

 

Though N65 million was spent on the website last year, according to the SGF Boss Mustapha, the last news item posted on the website was in October last year.

 

Most of the other ministries that have websites rarely update them.

 

Only last week, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) disclosed that over 70 percent of ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria have no websites.

 

The agency said less than 25 percent of them have functional telephone numbers and e-mail. The acting Director General of the bureau, Mr Dasuki Arabi, said this during the first edition of BPSR Lunch Time Reform Seminar in Abuja.

 

He spoke at an event themed: “Using ICT within the Public Service in the Ease of Doing Business to Enhance Public Access to Information.”

 

Arabi said there is a huge gap and constraints to doing business in Nigeria as many institutions of government have no avenue to disseminate needed information by business operators.

 

“This shortcoming has not only created a huge gap and constraint to doing business in Nigeria but is also responsible for the country being ranked number 169 out of the 190 economies in the world.

 

´In line with global best practices, institutional websites provide the means through which relevant information for starting business process could be obtained,” he said.

 

“It is also requisite where information concerning the activities of government organisation could easily be accessed. It is noteworthy to inform you that the federal government has adopted the scorecard in a letter dated 10 December 2017 which would serve as peer review mechanism among the MDAs to boost compliance to standards for government website and improve operationalization of the Executive Order E001 on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria,” he said

 

An analysis of the 2017 budget shows that N20 billion has been spent by federal ministries and agencies on information technology services and consultancy.

 

The budget breakdown shows that the funds were meant for setting up data banks, e-governance, simplifying information dissemination, as well as digitizing work in the agencies.

 

The allocations were listed under sub-headings for internet access charges, information technology consulting, satellite broadcasting access charges, computer software acquisition, information technology training, reforms communication, and purchase of computers.

 

Despite these spending, processes of information dissemination by government ministries remain antiquated and slow.

 

Several visits to the websites of these agencies in the past weeks revealed that only a few of them display up-to-date information.

 

Most are rarely updated, have blank pages or contain links that lead to no pages at all.

 

Also, the Foreign Affairs ministry website is not being updated as most of the pages were blank with “coming soon” displayed, including pages on travel advisory, trade, and investment.

 

The page designated “Nigerian missions oversees” was blank. And the website was last updated on December 7, 2017. The ministry’s links to business, government, visiting, and employment were all not active as of last night.

 

The Nigeria Police Force has an active website but with very scant information. When this reporter clicked on the link of “wanted persons” it was found to be blank even though the police have lots of wanted persons still on the run.

 

Among the agencies with regularly updated websites are those of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Budget Office of the Federation, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

 

Others in this category are the websites of the ministries of Information and Culture, Communication Technology, Power, Works, and Housing, among others.

 

Some of the big spenders on computer software acquisition and other IT related services according to 2017 budget are power, works and housing N5.5bn, DSS N1.04bn, communications N1.05bn, OSGF N1.04bn, National Security Adviser N1.04bn, and Code of Conduct Bureau N1.01bn.

 

Salaries and wages commission spent N917m, National Population Commission N741m, National Immigration Service N600m, Voice of Nigeria (VON) N663m, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) N355m, Transports N357m, Finance N344m, Foreign N276m, Defence N281m, Interior N252m, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) N204m, and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) N288m.

 

Others include Debt Management Office N130m, Information and Culture N126m, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)N122m, Trade and Investment N115m, Environment N147m, Education N111m, Economic Planning N169m, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) N232m, ICPC N145m, Petroleum N170m, and Mining N245m.

 

Board of Prisons, Immigration and Civil Defence spent N163m, Fiscal Responsibility Commission N85m, Nuclear Regulatory Agency N100m, Sports and youths N68m, Water Resources N40m, Federal Character Commission N95m, State House N181m, among others.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

Nigeria’s Online Travel Booking Space in Search of Real Value

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Although boasting a lot of potential, Nigeria’s travel and tourism industry has remained in a state of near-misses and failed projections occasioned by the glaring gap and huge vacuum in the online travel booking space.

 

According to available statistics, the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was N2,29bn, approximately 1.9% of total GDP in 2017 –  a figure that is expected to rise by 2.9% in 2018 and 4.3% per annum from 2018-2028, to N3,605.7bn, effectively representing 1.9% of total GDP in 2028.

 

On the other hand, the total contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP was N6,205.8bn representing 5.1% of GDP in 2017 and is forecast to rise by 1.6% in 2018 and 4.8% per annum to N10,094.5bn from 2018-2018, representing 5.4% of GDP in 2028.

 

While the figures appear promising, it is worth considering where the Nigerian travel industry stands in the global scheme of things.

 

Ranked on a global list of 185 countries, Nigeria presently stands at positions 48 in total contribution and 163 in relative contribution respectively to GDP from the Travel and Tourism sector. In terms of expected real growth in the sector, Nigeria stands at a poorly 168 position and 59 in long-term growth forecast (2018-2028) in the sector.

 

Compared with global indices, Travel and Tourism represents 10.4% of global GDP while one-tenth of jobs worldwide are supported by the industry, representing 9.9% of global employment. Furthermore, one-fifth of all of all global net jobs created in the last decade have been within the Travel and Tourism sector.

 

It is an open secret that travel and tourism is an important global economic activity, with the potential to contribute significantly to a nation’s GDP.

 

Added to this is the immense employment-generation opportunity it holds when harnessed efficiently – a point aptly embellished by Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council when she enthused that “inclusive growth and ensuring a future with quality jobs are the concerns of governments everywhere. Travel & Tourism, which already supports one in every ten jobs on the planet, is a dynamic engine of employment opportunity.”

 

Here in Nigeria, the engine of economic prosperity inherent in the Travel and Tourism is yet to be unleashed, owing predominantly to the vacuum in the online travel booking space which holds the key to transforming the sector.4

 

In real terms, only a small proportion (about 13%) of Nigerian air travelers currently book travel products online – a damning statistic for a country boasting a population grossing over 190 million.

 

For the four components of the Travel and Tourism sector which include Leisure travel (inbound and domestic), Business travel, Domestic travel and Foreign travel, the outlook remains the same: total contribution of the sector to GDP is nearly three times greater than its direct contribution.

 

Aligned to this is the poor experience of most Nigerians, many of whom have expressed their dissatisfaction with the level of service in the online travel booking space, despite the existence of a glut of players. For many corporate travelers, a segment that represents the overwhelming majority of online travel service consumers, the prevailing opinion is a glaring lack of real value. Same sentiment dominates among leisure travelers – many of whom are frustrated by sub-standard service and the limited choices of packages/offers available among current players – two of the most recurring pain-points that have drained confidence among customers in the sector.

 

Considering the nexus between technology and value-offerings in the online travel booking space, there is a growing need for a strong player backed by cutting-edge technology to fill the vacuum in the sector and take the industry to the next level. Further justifying this need is the undoubted influence of a world-class online platform and innovation in service delivery which has transformed the entire value chain of an allied sector such as e-Commerce in Nigeria, as seen in the rise and dominance of strong local players such as Konga which has re-defined the scope of offerings and customer experience in the industry.

 

The global travel and tourism industry is a multi-billion-dollar establishment which relies heavily on innovative technology and world-class customer experience in delivering a wide range of value offerings to all classes of travelers.

 

Nigeria is due for this disruption which has the potential of growing the sector’s contribution to GDP. Digital innovation is the way forward.

 

 

 

 

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TechX Innovation Hub Unveils Office in Enugu

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Technology Extra, TechX, Innovation Hub, a global organization that is concerned with the slow adoption of technology in the developing countries especially Africa has opened office in Enugu, South Eastern part of Nigeria.

Tech X is focused on four key areas of technological advancement; Awareness, Access, Adoption and Application.

Speaking at the unveiling of the office, Tony Ojobo, founder, TechX Innovation Hub, said that a key strategy that addresses the issue of low ICT penetration is awareness.

“People need to be aware of the power of ICT to transform lives, businesses and the economy at large. The most capitalized firms in the world today are playing in the ICT space. The capacity of technology to lift peoples and nations out of poverty is phenomenal.

In recognition of these tested facts, we decided to start from the area where penetration is low and scale up to other regions in the country.

“Nigeria however, has the market, the people and local innovations that can disrupt business models around the world. We are on track to making this happen,” he stated.

According to him, “TechX shall create a platform for people with ideas to incubate, startups, business developers, coders, programmers and techies to perfect and scale up their innovations through a structured mentoring process, training and knowledge development programs.

“Our focus will encompass the following; Coding, Gaming, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT’s) Robotics, Digital Innovations, Business Development, ICT Training, Software Development, Cyber Security, Digital Marketing etc.

“Our teeming youths can focus their creative energies more positively with a platform such as TechX Innovation Hub to give them a head-start in live. ICT has become the new oil and countries that have depended on oil as the economic main stay are beginning to embrace technology.”

“We have examples from UAE, Qatar and other countries in the Gulf region. The federal government has been making efforts towards diversification of the economy; however more still needs to be done through the encouragement of innovations, startups and SMEs.

“In realization of this need, TechX was set up to play our part towards the economic development of our people and thus contribute to poverty reduction in the region in particular and the country at large,” he said.

Ojobo noted that TechX will be collaborating with relevant Stakeholders, such as; the Media, Regulators, Hub owners, Tertiary Institutions, State Governments, Federal Government, SME’s, Multilateral Agencies, Embassies, Equipment Manufacturers, Ministries Departments and Agencies.

 

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NSE Trading Platform Suffers 4 Hours Technical Glitch

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Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday encountered a technical glitch which impacted trading activities for about four hours.

 

Mr. Bola Adeeko, head of Shared Services Division, NSE, said the glitch was resolved and market transactions continued at 1:45pm.

 

Due to the lost trading time, Mr. Adeeko explained that a decision was taken to extend the trading hours on Monday to 3:30p.m, from the usual time of 2:30p.m.

 

He further confirmed that the root cause of the disruption has been fully rectified.

 

According to Mr. Adeeko, NSE has a robust business continuity framework in place with processes designed to forestall and reduce the impact of such unpredictable technical glitches when they occur.

 

“The Bourse has a solid track record of high availability and systems resilience, whilst working with some of the cutting edge technologies required to power up a modern Exchange and will continue to work to enhance this”.

 

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