The National Information Technology Development Agency on Thursday confirmed that the database of the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account was still hosted abroad.
The Director General, NITDA, Dr Isah Ibrahim, made the confirmation while answering questions from journalists at a press conference to announce the hosting of the e-Nigeria conference in Abuja next week.
The NITDA had in December 2015 through its Office for Nigerian Content in Information and Communications Technology raised the alarm over foreign hosting of data on the TSA.
In a query issued to SystemSpecs (owners of Remita, the software driving the TSA), consultants to the Central Bank of Nigeria on TSA, the NITDA, said hosting of the database abroad was contrary to its localisation regulation and posed a security risk to the country’s finances.
Following several engagements, the NITDA granted the software company time to migrate the TSA database hosting to Nigeria.
However, Ibrahim on Thursday confirmed that the database was still being hosted abroad.
He stated that the IT agency met with the management of SystemSpecs in January this year after it concluded that enough time had elapsed for the migration of the database to Nigeria.
By August, he said, the company disclosed that it had secured most of the materials required for the local hosting of the database, adding that NITDA would meet with the firm again before the end of the fourth quarter of the year.
The NITDA boss also confirmed that the implementation of clearing IT projects with the NITDA by Ministries, Departments and Agencies had saved the nation N13bn this year.
He regretted, however, that over 200 government Ministries, Departments and Agencies were yet to comply with the directive of the Presidency that all IT projects should be cleared with the NITDA before contracts were awarded.
Ibrahim said N13bn had been saved from projects through scrutiny of costs as well as pruning of components.
He stated, “There are instances of components of projects that were not necessary. It is those unnecessary components that were cut off. There were instances of overpricing also.
“When projects come to the NITDA for scrutiny, we are not a rubberstamp. We do work to ensure that the government and the people get value for money.”
Ibrahim gave an instance of a project that was approved by the Federal Executive Council about two months ago from which the sum of N3.2bn was cut down after close examination by NITDA.
He said through close examination, the project was enriched in the process of clearance, while the cost was reduced from N21.2bn to N18bn.
Ibrahim accused the MDAs that refuse to seek clearance for their IT projects of having some things to hide, adding that if they all submitted their IT projects for clearance, the country would be saved funds that were necessary for critical issues in education and health.