By Kodilinye Obiagwu
THE Executive Secretary, Enugu State Economic Planning Commission, Mr. Daniel Onyishi has lauded the place of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in governance despite the environmental challenges governments face in embracing e-governance.
Calling on governments to adopt the best practices of ICT in governance, the Executive Secretary noted that the benefits of e-government outstrips the apparent challenges, which have held back most state governments and even corporate bodies from fully deploying ICT tools.
Onyishi spoke Tuesday, at the end of a 2-day free training on ICT, titled, “Free ICT Competency Initiative,” targeted at schools, Ministries, Government Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and corporate establishments.
The training was organized by Gloxina Foundation International in partnership with Synaegis Global Solutions, White Rose Media Ltd, publishers of The National Statesman online news portal and Henkin Engineering Ltd.
Rationalizing the need for exposing his staff to the training, Onyishi, who said that his commission is about 80 per cent ICT compliant, noted that, “ICT is where the world is going to. We want the commission to be ready as we aim to boost productivity and strengthen our work force in terms of skill acquisition.”
He said: “If we don’t allow our staff to key into emerging developments in terms of building skills, definitely, we are not paving the way for our work force to get to the peak of their career. We get shortchanged when we don’t have the proper exposure. When you expose your work force to ICT, then the sky is the limit in terms of productivity.”
According to Onyishi, one of the challenges facing organizations and even governments in fully adopting ICT is the absence of infrastructure. This according to him, has meant that, “for now, we have to combine digital and analogue principles in running some of our activities. For example, there are still compelling needs to manually store and retrieve documents in respective offices as evidence of official activities.“
Again, the capacity of the work force cannot sustain a fully automated working environment because not everyone is trained for that. And that is why we are taking advantage of the training programme.”
He explained further that “as soon the work force is properly exposed to the proper skills, even if theoretically, then it becomes imperative to back it up by ensuring that they apply the knowledge to their duties. It behooves the authorities then to provide them with the computer devices or place them in offices where they can utilize their skills. If this is not done, after a while, the benefits will be wiped away.”
The Executive Director of Gloxina Foundation, Mr. Jeremiah Ameh, said, “we can’t over stress the importance of ICT in government because deploying ICT to drive development in governance and public services can make a huge difference. ICT driven initiatives to facilitate growth and development has become imperative for key institutions in the country.”
Ameh expressed discomfort with the statistics from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which indicate that a mere 4.7 per cent of federal institutions use IT effectively while about 66 per cent are at the emerging stage of utilization.
The statistics according to him, “shows a huge gap that must be closed. Governments must play a key role in raising the ICT compliance level by exposing their staff to acquire ICT skills and create the environment for them to use it. It is the only way for us to keep abreast with the future.”
The 2-day training covered e-governance, use of basic ICT applications, safety and health tips in usage of computer devices among others.