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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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Global IT Spending to Hit $3.8tn in 2019 – Report

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Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.8 trillion in 2019, an increase of 3.2% from the expected spending of $3.7 trillion in 2018.

This is according to the latest forecast by market analyst firm Gartner, which says enterprise software spending is forecast to experience the highest growth in IT spending with an 8.3% increase in 2019.

“While currency volatility and the potential for trade wars are still playing a part in the outlook for IT spending, it is the shift from ownership to service that is sending ripples through every segment of the forecast,” says John-David Lovelock, research vice-president at Gartner.

“What this signals, for example, is more enterprise use of cloud services; instead of buying their own servers, they are turning to the cloud. As organisations continue their digital transformation efforts, shifting to ‘pay for use’ will continue. This sets enterprises up to deal with the sustained and rapid change that underscores digital business.”

Gartner says software-as-a-service is driving growth in almost all software segments, particularly customer relationship management (CRM), due to increased focus on providing better customer experiences.

It believes cloud software will grow at more than 22% this year compared with 6% growth for all other forms of software.

While core applications such as enterprise resource planning, CRM and supply chain continue to get the lion share of dollars, security and privacy are of particular interest right now, says Gartner.

It points out that 88% of recently surveyed global CIOs have deployed, or plan to deploy cyber security software and other technology in the next 12 months.

In 2018, the market analyst firm says, data centre systems are expected to grow 6%, buoyed by a strong server market that saw spending growth of more than 10% over the last year, and in 2018 will come in at 5.7% growth.

However, by 2019, servers will shift back to a declining market and drop 1% to 3% every year for the next five years, Garner notes, adding that this, in turn, will impact overall data centre systems spending as growth slows to 1.6% in 2019.

The firm points out that IT services will be a key driver for IT spending in 2019 as the market is forecast to reach $1 trillion in 2019, an increase of 4.7% from 2018.

It says an expected global slowdown in economic prosperity, paired with internal pressures to cut spending, is driving organisations to optimise enterprise external spend for business services such as consulting.

In a recent Gartner study, 46% of organisations indicated IT services and supplier consolidation were in their top three most-effective cost-optimisation approaches.

Worldwide spending for devices (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) is forecast to grow 2.4% in 2019, reaching $706 billion, up from $689 billion in 2018.

Gartner says demand for PCs in the corporate sector has been strong, driven by Windows 10 PC hardware upgrades that should continue until 2020. However, the PC market may see some impact from the Intel CPU shortage. While this shortage will have some short-term impacts, Gartner does not expect any lasting impact on overall PC demand.

The current expectation is that the shortage will continue into 2019, but Intel will prioritise the high-end CPU as well as the CPUs for business PCs, says Gartner, adding that in the meantime, AMD will pick up the part of the market where Intel cannot supply CPUs.

“PCs, laptops and tablets have reached a new equilibrium state. These markets currently have stable demand from consumers and enterprises. Vendors have only subtle technology differentiation, which is pushing them to offer PC-as-a-service in order to lock clients into multiyear recurring revenue streams and offer new bundles of service options,” says Lovelock.

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MDXI Achieves Microsoft Gold Data Centre Competency, SAP Recertification

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MDXI, data centre provider, has attained the Gold Data Centre certification from Microsoft, thus strengthening its position as one of the leading Cloud Services providers in Africa demonstrating “best-in-class” capability to meet Microsoft’s customers’ needs.

The Gold Data Centre is the highest partnership level with Microsoft in Data Centre Competencies and is the pinnacle for Cloud Productivity in Microsoft’s Partner Network program.

Attaining Gold Partner status is an important step for MDXI in its drive towards supporting local companies face issues on digital transformation, particularly in relation to their data centre and computing platform strategies.

To obtain the certification, MDXI has demonstrated the highest commitment to the integration of the latest Microsoft products, with proven expertise to help costumers drive innovative solutions on the latest Microsoft platforms.

“The Gold Competency provides MDXI with a competitive advantage that helps us offer our customers the most relevant Microsoft solutions in the market. With this competency, MDXI is accredited as a partner to transform data centres into more flexible, scalable, and cost effective solutions using Microsoft Azure Cloud and hybrid solutions.

This will enable us deliver greater value to our customers with best-in-class staff that have been subject to rigorous exams, proven implementation and satisfaction references auditable,” says Gbenga Adegbiji, General Manager, MDXI.

The new milestone proves MDXI’s commitment to enabling digital transformation for its customers through constant improvement in delivering only the best services with competency levels including Silver Cloud Platform; Silver Data Centre; Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions; and Silver Application Development competencies.

In a similar vein, German business software maker, SAP, has given MDXI a clean bill of health with its recertification as a provider of infrastructure services for its cloud solutions.

This recertification endorses the ability of the company to deliver high-quality cloud and infrastructure operations services for customers running SAP solutions and confirms MDXI can continue to host and manage SAP applications using the company’s enterprise cloud platforms.

As a SAP-certified provider of hosting services, MDXI offers cost-effective yet reliable delivery models for mission-critical applications for customers of SAP.

SAP customers that rely on MainOne’s data centre for hosting services are empowered to focus on the business value of their solutions and benefit from reduced operational expenses that a commercial data centre provides.

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Oracle Academy Steps Up ICT Training in Nigeria

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The Oracle Academy announced a collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education of Nigeria (FMoE) to create new computing education pathways for local students.

According to a statement, through the agreement, FMoE plans to integrate Oracle Academy computer science curriculum and resources across 10,000 academic institutions across the country, reaching over 1.5 million students within the region.

Over the next three years, Oracle Academy will also facilitate the training of 4,000 educators at the secondary and higher education levels to teach computer science.

Permanent secretary, FMoE, Arch, Sonny S.T Echono, said, “As we are all aware, ICT has become the driver of competitiveness in the world today. It has redefined efficiency and productivity, and changed the dynamics of the world of work. Oracle Academy is well-known globally for the advancement of computer science education. There is therefore, no doubt that our partnership with Oracle will bring great improvements to the education sector and Nigeria as a whole.”

Adebayo Sanni, Managing Director, Oracle Nigeria, added, “As technological innovation increasingly drives our global economy, computer science skills become even more critical.

We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria through Oracle Academy, and advancing our collective educational mission to support students and teachers in computer science and drive diversity in technology.”

In its statement, Oracle Academy added that it will facilitate a ‘Train-the-Trainer’ course to prepare teachers and faculty members as instructors for the following courses: Database Foundations; Database Design and Programming with SQL; Programming with PL/SQL; Java Foundations; Java Fundamentals, and Java Programming

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