N20bn budget expenditures and inactive website of MDAs

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The cover story of Daily Trust newspaper on inactive websites  of ministries, departments and agencies ( MDAs) of the Federal Government should be properly investigated to punish culpable officials. It is a shame for Nigeria that  websites of these agencies  are inactive  at this Information Technology age   in which information dissemination holds the key to ease of doing business.

It would be recalled that N20 billion was approved  by the National Assembly in 2017 budget and  spent by federal ministries and agencies on information technology services and consultancy.

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.

For instance, 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.

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.

Hence,  the  inactive of these websites are part of the reasons why industrialization in Nigeria remains mainly on papers despite  the urge and interest of  foreign investors to obtain  information that will aid research and development in Nigerian economy. Other MDAs  with inactive  websites identified in the report include  the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government ( OSGF), National Space Research Development Agency ( NASDRA), National Board for Technology Incubation ( NBTI) and National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).

It is clear from the failure of these MDAs with inactive websites that their  Chief Executive Officers are mainly politicians or CEOs  interested mainly in the title of the office. Proper investigation should be conducted to know why these websites remain inactive.

To end this menace, adequate knowledge of Information Technology ( ICT) should form part of the conditions to satisfy before Ministers should be approved by the National Assembly. Also for parastatals requiring approval of the National Assembly, latest information on the respective parastatals should form part of the questions needed for screening of political appointees. Beside, the government through the ministry of Communication should provide monthly monitoring and ranking of active websites.

For agencies with inactive websites, professionals should be engaged to take charge and be provided with regular training program that will improve  their skills

Nigerian NewsDirect believes that active dissemination of information will help  CEOs to obtain information needed at the grassroots to benefit directly from the administration of President Buhari. This will also boost inflow of foreign investors needed to make Nigeria remains competitive as investment destination.

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