A Bill for a Law to establish the Akwa Ibom State Information Technology Development Agency (AISITDA) sponsored by Hon. KufreAbasi Edidem and 16 others scaled through first reading yesterday, May 28, 2020 at plenary.
Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly received notification of the Bill yesterday which was read for the first time by the clerk of the House, Mrs. Mandu Umoren.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey in his presiding committed the Bill to House Committee on Rules, Businesses, Ethics and Privileges for rescheduling.
In line with the current trend thattechnology
has aided the human race beyond measure, and with many advancements and conveniences, the Bill is seeking for the establishment of an Information Technology Development Agency in Akwa Ibom State for enhancement of e-Governance to engender transparency.
It is pertinent to note that there is urgent need for the State to be at par with her contemporaries, in line with the post COVID-19 economic realities, where Information Technology will play key role.
Notably, despite the importance of information technology in the modern society, Akwa Ibom is yet to fully embrace, tap and harness its potentialities. This has cost the State a great deal and has made the State to lose out on a number of opportunities information technology renders.
With that said, it is imperative to establish an agency called “Akwa Ibom State Information Technology Development Agency” (AISITDA) to manage and promote the operations of information technology in the State.
Having in mind that such Agency when in place, will create a frame work for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in the state, while also providing universal access for Information Technology and systems penetration including rural, urban and under-served areas.
The proposed Agency when established, will not only promote optimal performance and electronic Governance, but shall also be saddled with the responsibility of developing guidelines for electronic governance, effective monitoring of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as viable alternative to paper-based methods as currently dominant in the public and private sector.
Enormous benefits of establishing such Agency will include but not limited to: development of guidelines for the networking of public and private sector establishment; development of guidelines for the standardization and certification of Information Technology Escrow Source Code and Object Code Domiciliation, Application and Delivery Systems in Nigeria; offering advisory services in all information technology matters to the public and private sectors.
The Bill shall also captured the setting up of information technology parks in strategic locations across the state, and formulation of appropriate regulatory policies and incentives to encourage private sector investment in the information technology industry, to enhance accelerated penetration of internet and intranet in Akwa-Ibom to boost e-Governance.
While a section of the Bill seeks to optimize cyber security in the State, the Agency when put in place, is expected to create thousands of jobs for Akwa Ibom Youths and also establish technology hubs.
Retrospectively, In 2017, the Economist declared that the world’s most valuable resource was no longer oil, but data (a major component of information technology). At a recent Africa Technology Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, tagged ‘Africa Tech Summit Kigali,’ some experts are now of the view that data is now Africa’s ‘new blood’ as against the old narrative that data is the ‘new oil’ for Africans.
E–governance beyond any doubt has become a necessary political mechanism in
evaluating government performances in many developed parts of the world. The use of
Information and Communication Technology in government businesses through promoting
government’s role in delivering services, public administration and promoting active
participatory democracy has been gaining an impelling force in the global community and with the proposed Bill, Akwa Ibom State shall not be left out of this global trend.
Expectedly, the application of e-governance in the State shall serve as a mechanism in enhancing citizen’s participation, keeping taps and evaluating government
projects, ensuring government accountability and transparency as well as transferring
information from one sector to another appropriately.
Also, the proposed Agency when established will encompass a broad vision of the utilization of Information and communication technology in government businesses with the primary aim of encouraging greater participation in the state, as well as enhancing the relationship between the government and citizens.