GalaxyBackbone’s Information Technology infrastructure across the federal government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will soon be replaced, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has said.
Pantami disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the four-day capacity building programme for Digital Transformation Technical Working Group (DT-TWG) in Abuja, on Monday.
The minister, who declared the programme open, said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had already approved the memo he presented at its meeting on the replacement and upgrade of obsolete IT infrastructure in the MDAs.
“You may recall that on September 2, 2020, I had the privilege of presenting a memo to the Federal Executive Council on the need to replace and upgrade the GalaxyBackbone infrastructure in our Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The meeting, chaired by our boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, approved it and now we are in the process of getting the infrastructure replaced and upgraded,” he said.
Pantami also disclosed that Buhari had granted the ministry’s prayer asking the president to compel all government offices to patronise GalaxyBackbone’s IT services.
“A circular directing all the MDAs to patronise GalaxyBackbone was issued on November 1 by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF),’’ the minister said.
He said the upgrade and replacement of the infrastructure will further help the country in its e-government quest.
The minister said the necessity brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the adoption of e-government by public officials.
He said IT infrastructure and broadband provided by GalaxyBackbone Limited made it easy for the FEC, Council of State and National Economic Council meetings to be held virtually.
He said a national policy on virtual engagement had been approved by FEC and gazetted in the Public Service Rules.
He said virtual meetings had become the new normal because officials had continued to hold meetings virtually regardless of where they were.
“Even after COVID-19 most of the things we have adopted we will continue to use them,’’ he also said.
He said the digital economy had proven to be a veritable platform for the creation of jobs.
He said: “Bearing in mind the importance of a digital economy, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, approved our request to redesignate the Federal Ministry of Communications as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on the 17th of October, 2019.
“The change was officially endorsed at the Federal Executive Council on the 23rd of October, 2019 and the process of implementing a digital economy for the country began on the 24th of October, 2019, which was approved as the Digital Nigeria Day.’’
He said a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria had been developed.
“It was unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 28th of November 2019. NDEPS provides a holistic and sustainable approach towards the development of our nation’s digital economy. It is based on the following 8 pillars:
- Developmental Regulation;
- Digital Literacy and Skills;
- Solid Infrastructure;
- Service Infrastructure;
- Digital Services Development and Promotion;
- Soft Infrastructure;
- Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and
- Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.
Pantami said the digital transformational training fit into the third point.
He said the Solid Infrastructure pillar addresses the need to provide broadband access and data centres required to enable citizens to access the digital solutions that characterise the digital economy.
The service infrastructure pillar, he said, addresses the provision of robust digital platforms to drive the digital economy.
“These platforms enable transactions and interactions online. They also have the added advantage of enabling a supply of data from which both government and the private sector can gain useful insights with which to develop the digital economy.
“Digital platforms enable us to digitize business processes and this can lead to significant savings. As part of the activities of this pillar, we launched the Virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings and this was unprecedented. The National Policy on Virtual Engagements in the Federal Public Institutions which we developed supports the activities of this pillar,’’ the minister said.
Earlier, the Managing Director of GalaxyBackbone, Prof Muhammad Bello Abubakar, said the training was being held to key into digital economy programme of the federal government.
He said GalaxyBackbone was positioned to ensure its financial sustainability, operational excellence, customer’s satisfaction, improved service and data sovereignty/security, among others.
In his message, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said the training was a follow-up to the first phase done by the agency.
Mallam Abdullahi said 442 public servants from 89 MDAs were trained and have now become the ambassadors of e-government and digital economy in their offices.
While giving the overview of the training, Acting Head of Research, Digital, Innovation and Skills, Nasir Suleiman, said network infrastructure, video conferencing, first level support, use of government emails and other topics would be treated at the capacity building training.
One of the facilitators, Dikko Abba, said GalaxyBackbone had laid fibre optic across 13 states of the country.
According to Abba, in the next two to three years, 32 states would have the agency’s fibre optic laid across them.