- Veröffentlicht: 09. März 2017
The primary purpose of government in Nigeria, at least constitutionally, is the security and welfare of the people. This is the case in democracies all over the world. The people vest power in their government through their constitutions and the government, in exchange, directs this power to the people’s security and welfare through its various agencies and the services they deliver. As populations increase and the needs of society increase in complexity, governments turn to technology (or e—Government) to increase the speed and quality at which it delivers services to the public.
The World Bank defines e-Government as “the use by government agencies of information technologies (such as Wide Area Networks, the Internet, and mobile computing) that have the ability to transform relations with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. These technologies can serve a variety of different ends: better delivery of government services to citizens, improved interactions with business and industry, citizen empowerment through access to information, or more efficient government management. The resulting benefits can be less corruption, increased transparency, greater convenience, revenue growth, and/or cost reductions.”
It is therefore quite easy to see how technology has the potential to increase transparency and convenience and make governments less corrupt.
Publishing information on websites empowers citizens by informing of the benefits and rights they can expect. Moving services online means that people can be served without physically visiting the government agency or council office. President Goodluck Jonathan was especially proud, for example, of how fertilizer delivery to rural farmers improved under the mobile phone scheme.
One of the best examples of e-Government is the Gov.UK portal of the British government. It serves as a one-stop website for 25 ministerial departments and over 370 other agencies and public bodies. Users can learn about and apply for several services as well as submit returns in compliance with various regulations. From a performance assessment perspective, the public can view its live service usage data (13.0 million unique visits between 13 and 19 February 2017) as well as the most accessed documents. Even more importantly, as will be shown below, it shows service uptime (100% over the last 30 days).
In Nigeria, agencies like the FRSC, Customs and the Immigrations service deploy new technology which fails to make their processes easier or more transparent and, in fact, seems to increase the need for touts and other middlemen. Sometimes, government agencies even take us back in time, like the Central Bank of Nigeria charging stamp duty on electronic money transfers. Or e-passport holders each still passing through 3 immigration officials to have their booklets stamped at the airports. There are very few government services that can be completed online. To be frank, apart from the annually perennial elimination of ghost workers, the immediate benefits of which are the government’s and not the public’s at any rate, it’s hard to point to a wholly successful adoption of e-Governance by the Nigerian government.
There is hope, though, as there have been successes in the more rudimentary forms of technology outside e-Government affecting governance. Videos have been useful in identifying overly heavily-handed paramilitary officials, the most recent being the two soldiers who recently beat up an invalid. The heads of Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the Bureau of Public Reforms and Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative actively engage in multidirectional interactions with the public on social media and respond fairly promptly to issues brought directly to their attention in this manner. Audio recordings of telephone conversations between sitting or aspiring governors and the supporting architecture of electioneering have exposed the true nature of some public officials and public figures. Civil society organisations, BudgIT in particular, have exposed padding and waste in the last two federal budgets.
The road ahead may be a long and tortuous one, but as the public and private sectors increase the use and adoption of technology, accountability and efficiency should increase as well, thereby improving the delivery of governance.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Rotimi Fawole
Quelle/Source: The Guardian, 02.03.2017