The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha, has directed the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) to ensure that all government communication were channeled through websites of various government establishment to enhance service delivery.

Mustapha said this in Abuja on Thursday at the official launch of the 2019 evaluation and ranking of websites of Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

The SGF, represented by Dr Habiba Lawal, Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office, said efforts should be geared towards delivering services to Nigerians in the most acceptable and fast manner to be able to compete with the digital world.

“I want to charge the bureau as a coordinating agency for reforms in Nigeria to ensure that it conducts studies from time to time on the level of receptivity, adoption and satisfaction of businesses and general public in respect to engaging government via the MDAs online services.

“Permit me at this juncture to commend the bureau and other members of the inter-ministerial task team as well as the 2018 jury for a successful conduct of the 2018 scorecard evaluation and ranking of websites of 70 MDAs,” Mustapha said.

According to the SGF, the evaluation and ranking process would go a long way in Identifying challenges and solutions to website operational activities of the MDAs and also the step will help us to play our part at individual MDAs level.

“It is my conviction that the objective of the exercise which is to ensure that MDAs websites conform to the best practice in delivering government services to citizens and businesses in a transparent, effective and efficient manner will not be lacking in commitment and cooperation necessary for this speedy attainment.

“Since the introduction of this project in 2018, we have noticed transformation in the functionalities of MDAs websites in addressing the key challenges the last evaluation elicited.

“Significant progress has been recorded in addition to noticeable paradigm shift in MDAs websites from being a mere presentation of information to becoming platform for digital government information services and resources.

“This is in tandem with the priority of the current administration to fight corruption, improve transparency and accountability through an open government.

“Continuous improvement in the accessibility of MDAs websites as a result of the evaluation will further promote the e-services initiatives as issuance processes for international passport, drivers’ license, registration of businesses, e-ticketing and many others,” Mustapha added.

The Director-General of BPSR, Mr Dasuki Arabi, said the 2019 evaluation was aimed at consolidating on what the bureau achieved in 2018 after the ranking of 70 MDAs.

Arabi said that over 200 websites would be ranked in this year’s evaluation as efforts had been made to ensure the removal of constraints in accessing information on most government websites.

He urged MDAs that had yet to reinvigorate their websites through an institutionalised mechanism (scorecard) to do that in the shortest time possible.

“As the lead reform agency in the country, our goal is to see reforms translate to tangible improvements in the lives of the citizens.

“This is why we are determined through our rebranding of public sector service initiative to commit MDAs to deliver to the citizens’ purposeful services and effectively manage government information.

“We are determined to see that government processes for government, citizens, and businesses are simplified through our partnership with Digital Bridge Institute, Galaxy Backbone, NITDA, NIRA and Federal Ministry of Communications.

”This is in up-scaling the capacity of the public service to use innovation and modern technology to deliver services to citizens.

“In line with the aspirations of National Strategy for Public Service Reform (NSPSR), we are collaborating with the government MDAs to push the e-government strategy forward,” Arabi said.

Mr Yusuf Kazaure, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Galaxy Backbone noted that the country would be left behind if it did not embrace digital reforms in its establishments.

This, he said was why his organisation was in the forefront of providing platform for government websites to thrive.

Kazaure said: “The website is the first interface means of communication that allows a deeper form of interaction between the citizenry and various MDAs that represent government.

“Nigeria does not know what it is losing until it goes digital.

“We are on the verge of losing relevance in most of the services we render because the new generation of Nigerians is purely digital natives.

“These are youngsters who cannot understand why they should stand by the road side to stop a taxi when they can ask their phone to bring an Uber taxi to their doorsteps.

“These are youngsters who cannot understand why they should queue up to get food delivered to them; so, they are used to getting services digitally.

“And until we are able to put the basic foundation in place as a government, then, the relevance of government in their lives will begin to diminish more and more.” (NAN)

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