Experts urge Buhari to adopt e-govt initiative in anti-corruption crusade



Experts have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give e-government priority in his administration as a strategic measure to check leakages in spending and exposure of officials to public funds.

The experts, who gave the advice in Abuja yesterday at the conclusion of a two-day “2015 E-Government Summit”, based their submission on the recent disclosure by President Buhari that an estimated $150 billion had been stolen from the country and stashed abroad in the last 10 years by some unscrupulous government officials and other Nigerians. According to them, adoption of e-government will, to a larger extent, help in curbing cases of financial fraud in government circles.

Speaking as the special guest of honour at the summit, Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, maintained that the adoption of e-government in Anambra, especially in the area of tax collection, has raised the Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from less than N1 billion to its current N1.1 billion monthly, with the ultimate objective to increase the IGR target to N3 billion monthly.

“In Anambra, our aggressive pursuit of a vision and mission strategies through an efficient use of ICT has attracted an inflow of investment to the tune of N2.4 billion to Anambra State in the past one year.

“The whole idea is to use government machinery to channel private sector interest for the advantages of the citizens by making the environment conductive through efficient use of ICT,” Obiano said.

Also speaking at the forum, Deputy Governor (Operations) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alhaji Suleiman Barau, said the CBN’s introduction of electronic transaction policies was meant to ensure efficiency in financial transactions and curb corruption in the system.

He noted that while the Federal Government and its parastatals have also embraced a number of ICT-related initiatives in recent past in their services, with resultant cost-saving and ability to plug the leakages in its financial dealings, “there is an urgent need to popularise wider and holistic embrace of e-government.”

Barau said that with the passage of three major bills relating to electronic transactions in Nigeria by the sixth National Assembly, the road is now clear for e-payment landscape in the country to achieve increased sanity.

The event was organised by E-Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN), in collaboration with the Financial Services Strategy (FSS) 2020 and the CBN.

The Head, Programme Office, FSS2020, Oluwatoyin Joko, explained that the collaboration with E-PPAN was considered critical as it allows FSS2020 Office to see how it can better re-organise the major financial markets, insurance, pension and mortgage as well as agriculture and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) using e-government as strategy.

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