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IT procurement: NITDA, EFCC forge alliance to curb corruption

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The National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC) have forged alliance to strengthen the anti-corruption war especially on the procurement of Information Technology(IT) products and service among Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of the Nigerian government.

The two agencies inked the alliance during a working visit to EFCC Headquarter in Abuja by the Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami with his management team.

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The alliance was announced yesterday in an official statement by NITDA’s  Head of Corporate and External Relations, Hadiza Umar.

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According to the statement, Pantami said the alliance has become imperative in the face of the wanton corruption being perpetrated by MDAs especially in the procurement of IT products and services as most of the projects pass through less scrutiny during budget defense at the National Assembly since the expertise required to ascertain the needs and specifications of these IT requirements are lacking within the legislative chambers.

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NITDA is government’s IT clearinghouse but until now, its mandate to scrutinize IT procurements by MDAs has largely been ignored.

“Many MDAs consider IT projects  as conduit pipes to siphon public funds and I believe partnering with EFCC will bring sanity to the sector and by then the commission will be empowering NITDA in strengthening its regulatory function through which it will also be developing  and promoting the local content in the IT sector,” the NITDA boss said.

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While suggesting the modus operandi of the partnership, DrPantami informed that the two organisations could form a working group which would also serve as a desk to deal with sharp practices in IT procurement, adding that, “EFCC may help in asking MDAs to produce procurement clearance issued by NITDA during their investigations.

He said NITDA as IT regulatory body in the country, the Agency is responsible for subjecting IT product to value-for-money analysis, reduce projects duplication, justify the spending of public funds on IT projects and to advise MDAs on the alternative options of IT products and service with a view of reducing cost especially on sharing of software among themselves.

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Pantami who believed that the alliance would strengthen the existing relationship between the Agency and the Commission said “supporting NITDA would go a long way in blocking loopholes in IT procurements.”

He commended the EFCC’s Acting chairman for his doggedness, fearlessness and outstanding performance which he has recorded in acting capacity saying the feat could take some people 20 years to achieve as substantive chairman of the commission.

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While assuring him of his prayers and goodwill, Dr Pantami stated that Nigeria needs people like Mr. Magu who are fearless and do not think of the consequences of their action to move forward as a nation

In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu who expressed his   delight over the visit said that  EFCC as a commission “would be complying with NITDA’s request so as to bring some level of sanity to the procurement of IT products and services among MDAs in Nigeria.

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He described the partnership as timely especially now that the Commission is on the process of “completely digitalizing the operation of EFCC” adding that he now has place in NITDA to run to when he gets confuse on  IT projects under investigations.

Describing corruption as a threat to the unity of Nigeria, the EFCC boss maintained that the Commission cannot fight corruption alone without the consensus of all Nigerians, he pleaded to Nigerians not to be discouraged on the recent corruption case judgments delivered recently.

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Magu stated that the cause of agitations from different quarters in the country today is because of corruptions that has ravaged the nation. “Absolutely there is a political will to fight corruption and this is not in doubt. This is the time to save this country from the shackles of corruption,” he added

The two organisations agreed to nominate three officials each to constitute the working group and the desk with the term of reference of verifying the IT products and services to be procured with public funds.

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