Headline Nigeria Special Report

Need for agencies to key into digital technology

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy making a presentation during the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration Scorecard on the Digital Economy Sector.

Digital technology is the use of advanced information and communication to collect, store, analyse and share physical information.

It has been acknowledged as a source of energy and a growth engine for the social and economic empowerment of any nation. A lot is being achieved in this age as a result of digitisation.

According to the United Nations, digital advances can support and accelerate achievement of each of the 17 sustainable Development goals.

It went further to state that Digital technologies have advanced more rapidly than any innovation in history. This is a fact.

In Nigeria for instance, the tech and digital economy are reshaping the country and is providing employment opportunities, as many tech enthusiasts have made breakthroughs through their potentials in the industry.

It is therefore not fallacious to state that the future of Nigeria lies mostly in the non-oil sectors and technology is one of the leading sectors.

A glance at the Information Communication Technology sector, indicates an impressive contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2022.  

In 2020, the industry accounted for 15% of Nigeria’s GDP, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

This trend had continued in the past three years, during which time the industry has grown by 18.4%.

All these points to the fact that the country’s technological innovation has made significant strides in recent past.

Indeed, the growing influence of digital technology in all public and private institutions, has successfully opened up a new line of contact for citizens and the government as well. 

Today, agencies of government make use of software applications (apps) which users can download and access relevant information needed to perform a particular task, transact businesses and fulfil an obligation as the case may be.

(L-R) e-Naira app by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Railway Corporation app.

With such apps, one can apply for services such as obtaining or renewal of licenses, passports, paying of utilities bills, registration of companies and many more at one’s comfort zone.

This has helped to reduce cost, stress, generate revenue to the government, enhance transparency and create employment.

A typical example is in the collection of a new driver’s license which can now be done within five working days. This is indeed a huge relief compared to what was obtainable in the past when the process was flawed with delays, issuance of fake licenses by touts, and over payment.

Furthermore, banks, corporate organisations and private companies have websites to make easy their business transactions.

There is therefore the need for government agencies at all levels to key into such innovations. 

It is worrisome and indeed degrading that many agencies of government at various levels are still operating the analog system, in a country like Nigeria, acclaimed to be the giant of Africa.

Official documents are still moved physically in a file from one office to another through an office messenger. Information is not archived digitally.

This explains why vital information are lost whenever there are unfortunate incidence such as fire outbreak or burglary.

It may be argued that digital technology can lead to job loss but on the flipside is the fact that, it enhances efficiency where employees originally assigned to perform those tasks, are trained digitally to contribute their quota to the economy.

The world is increasingly becoming digitally compliant and Nigeria should not be an exemption, neither should the country move in a snail’s speed in a world that has become a global village.

Writing by Folasade Orimolade, Head of Reportorial Unit, Radio Nigeria; Editing by Muzha Kucha