Good governance is concerned with the deliverance of sound economic and growth-related policies in an efficient manner to the public. The policies are created to secure empowerment, establish a healthy social set up and provide effective delivery of public services. Innovation in implementation coupled with innovation in technological advances creates better and alternative ways to deliver these services to the public, particularly in areas where the old traditional methods have failed. Technological advances have been a thriving resource for well-organized and effective good governance. The increased flexibility and movability arising from dispersed intelligence and innovations in wireless technologies have provided a rich environment for promoting good governance.
Governance and Technology In Nigeria
The creation of e-governance in Nigeria has been one of the tools utilized to ensure effective delivery of services to the public. It can be traced to the formulation of the Nigerian National Information Technology (NNIT) policy in the year 2000. The idea behind the policy was to create awareness about the great benefits of IT when implemented into the government system and the economy. Its objective was to set up a framework to enhance the development of infrastructure, create special incentive programs and ensure public information required is easily accessible. Since the introduction of the policy, Nigeria has taken steps in the right direction in merging technology with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) of government to create a more efficient method of delivering public services to its citizens. With the concept of e-governance in mind, the Treasury Single Account (TSA) project was introduced in the year 2012 and became fully operational in the year 2015. The TSA was designed to manage the funds from government revenue and ensure that all payments are made through a single account, which is the Consolidated Revenue Account (CRA) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The TSA has created a system where all government payments are made without delay and monitored closely under CBN to avoid corruption or diversion of revenue. The system has produced quite a number of successes in Nigeria such as:
- Closing down commercial bank accounts that had 0% interest rate.
- Due to the operation of a single account, there is no need for borrowing of funds as all MDAs can have access to this account without the need to pay fees to commercial banks.
- The operation of the TSA has pushed the development of technological advances pertaining to IT as it encourages the use of online transactions and payments.
- With the CBN in charge, all money contained in the TSA is now accounted for and placed under a high level of security.
Additionally, the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) is also an innovative system in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance that was created to pay the salaries and wages of government officials directly into their government employee accounts. The IPPIS has been seen to be an effective mechanism in ensuring that quick payments of the salaries are done accurately, following the procedures of the law. This system has also aided in the automatic deduction of taxes and any other third party payments. There has also been other success such as the introduction of e-registration at the Corporate Affairs Commission and Federal Inland Revenue Service. These successes align with the goals of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria. It has created an achievement under the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2018 where Nigeria ranked higher from 169th to 145th position.
Other jurisdictions have also adopted the use of e-governance into their system. In Ghana, their system is based on an efficient IT policy that is used as a guide for implementation. The Ghana National ICT Development policy, which was introduced in 2013, was created to transform Ghana into an IT knowledge-based country through the execution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Based on observations, their implementation process of the policy can be deemed effective as it has a four (4) year rolling plan and an operational life span of fifteen (15) to twenty (20) years. This method ensures that goals and targets pertaining to each sector of the economy are met and that a sound mechanism has been put in place for effective service delivery.
There is still much room for improvement in Nigeria. Rather than following the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) guidelines for data protection, a bill for Data Protection Act needs to be passed to protect the privacy of information being passed across from one system to another. Intellectual Property laws need to be updated and reformed to include protection of new innovations or ideas created and to also draw in investors to invest in our infrastructure. Codes of conduct as well as sanctions need to be put in place to eradicate theft and vandalism of infrastructure.
It is believed that all these can be achieved as the initiative is present however, there needs to be a system where Nigeria’s objectives and execution are in sync to be considered globally as having an effective e-government system. According to the E-government Development Index (EGDI) World ranking 2018, Nigeria is not present among the top ten (10) countries. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd position is occupied by Denmark, Australia and Republic of Korea respectively. The EGDI is based on jurisdictions operating an online service index, telecommunications infrastructure index and human capital index. These are key guidelines that the MDAs of government in Nigeria need to effect for advances to be made.