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Effective Application Of Technology For National Development

It is generally averred that without research and innovation, it is difficult for any nation to progress economically to become self-sufficient in a competitive world of technology. This might have prompted the choice of the three-point agenda of the current administration to address the economy, corruption and insecurity challenges faced in Nigeria. These three elements which form the foundation of the nation’s development if adequately tackled would hasten the nation along the path of progress.

The indices reports released by both local and international bodies, however, give bleak outlooks in most of the key sectors. The reports released by the World Poverty Clock, Transparency International, Global Terrorism Index and National Bureau of Statistics on the unemployment rate, leave the nation in the abyss. What then are the challenges in addressing these issues despite concerted effort?

Economy, Insecurity and Corruption are inter-related and connected. They are currently being managed with the deployment of technology albeit half-heartedly. The advancement of any nation is not wholly dependent on how engaged the nation is in developing innovative technologies but how effective it is in the deployment of available technologies. In an attempt to draw a missing link to the nation’s development challenges, the ten richest nations of the world are x-rayed. The keyword in this article is “effective”.

10 RICHEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

SN

COUNTRY

TOTAL GDP ($B)

GDP PER CAPITA ($B)

POPULATION (Mil)

1

QATAR

152.5

124,130

2.1

2

LUXEMBOURG

59.95

109,190

0.562

3

SINGAPORE

297

90,530

5.5

4

BRUNEI

26,938.5

76,740

0.415

5

IRELAND

294.1

72,630

6.6

6

NORWAY

370.6

70,590

5.2

7

KUWAIT

114

69,670

4.1

8

UNITED ARAB EMIRATE (UAE)

348.7

68,250

9.2

9

SWITZERLAND

659.8

61,360

8.4

10

HONG KONG

320.9

61,020

7.3

Some of the richest nations of the world are not actively engaged in innovative technology and engineering science researches but they are considered as developed economies because of high GDP, top-notch tech infrastructure and a significant degree of industrialization.

A look at these richest countries shows that;

a.       Only 4 of these countries have oil and gas (Qatar, Brunei, Kuwait and UAE)

b.      5 of the countries have little or no mineral resources (Singapore, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland and Hong Kong)

c.       4 of the countries are in Europe (Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland)

d.      3 on the list are Arab nations (Qatar, Kuwait and UAE)

e.      3 are countries in the Far East (Singapore, Hong Kong and Brunei)

f.        2 are landlocked countries (Luxembourg and Switzerland)

g.       2 have high-density population (Singapore and Hong Kong)

These countries have and maintain good internal security systems. On the list of 31 World Safest Countries published by Independent.co.uk (June 2018 edition) are Singapore, Ireland, Switzerland and Norway. On corruption perception index, all the countries scored 63 and above on Transparency International Index except Kuwait with 39 points.

The richest countries have some peculiar features with no specific attributes except that they are nations that have effectively deployed technology for the advancement of their economies. Nigeria if added to the league of 10 richest countries will find itself among nations which qualify as rich in mineral resources with high population open to the Atlantic Ocean.

Nigeria is a nation that exhibits lassitude to technology. The citizens largely undermine technology for self-interest. The nation lacks the will to drive the technology wheel yet more than 70% of her challenges require technology to solve it. Nations are poor not for lack of engagement in advanced researches and contribution to global knowledge but because they failed to effectively utilize technology to plan and order their national life.

ECONOMY

Being able to determine our population is one of the first steps to an effective national economic planning. The nation has failed to accurately account for her population because it lacks the will to conduct an acceptable census with genuine figures. It depends on estimated population figures provided by external sources to run her economy.

Currently, the nation has multiple biometric management systems operated by different agencies and organizations that need to be harmonized. The bank captures Bank Verification Number, Federal Road Safety Corps; Driver’s License, Independent National Electoral Commission; Personal Voters’ Card, Telecom Operators; Subscriber Identification Module, Nigeria Immigration Service; International Passport, National Identity Management Commission; National Identity Card etc. Nigeria Identification Management Commission whose responsibility it is to manage the identity of every citizen has over the years shown lack of capacity.

The Federal Executive Council had approved the Identity Ecosystem to bring into full implementation the provisions of the NIMC Act 23, 2007, which include the enforcement of mandatory use of the National Identity Number by January 1, 2019. This will follow with the application of appropriate sanctions and penalties on defaulters as provided under Section 28 of the NIMC Act and Regulations.

The awareness to this implementation has not been created either has the public been sensitized on this very important national policy. The National eID card comes with fully integrated functions and convenience that will allow holders to use it for financial transactions even at ATM.  With little or no information available to the public on this policy, this portends another failure in realizing the foundation for our national development.

SECURITY

The effective implementation of the National eID will curtail and or contain current insecurity challenges in the country. The Telecom operators who have a major role to play in this regards are still battling to register subscribers’ data in their systems. The Nigerian Communications Commission set up a 12-member committee to tackle the problems of improperly registered, unregistered and pre-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards in 2017. Among several successes, in November 2018, it was reported that NCC uncovered 88 illegal spots for SIM card registrations. The menace continues as the commission continues on her effort to cleanse the system. An end should be brought to this menace which keeps the nation in perpetual danger.

Again, nearly all our cities are without an expanded coverage and functional CCTV system to enhance surveillance and monitoring. The nation should deploy these technologies for our use as they are readily available.

CORRUPTION

Bank Verification Number: The banks have failed to completely capture Money Deposit customers’ data thereby encouraging and entrenching illicit financial transactions in the system. CBN recently reported that 25.7 million bank customers are yet to be enrolled on BVN as of June 30, 2018.  The apex bank stated that 64 per cent or 46.1 million from 71.8 million active bank customers’ accounts have been linked to the BVN during the same period. With non-availability of National eID, BVN enrollment should be completed so as to address financial crimes in the system.

Treasury Single Account: Government decided to exempt 13 MDAs being government business entities on Treasury Single Account platform. These Profit Oriented Public Corporation/Business Enterprises of government are to pay their dividends into the TSA account. While this seems to be the only veritable means for Government Enterprise to operate, it leaves room for continuous abuse of public funds and resources. As reported recently, most of the business enterprises are yet to make remittance.
Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS):

IPPIS scheme is one of the government initiatives to curb corruption and improve human resource management activities from recruitment to separation. About 1.2 million workers are employed in about 950 MDAs. As of March 2018, it was reported that a total of 511 MDAs were captured under the IPPIS scheme with a total of 607,843 members of staff.

More than five years after its implementation, the enrollment process continues to drag on. The government recently warned that it agencies that are yet to be enrolled in the IPPIS may not be able to access their personnel budget from 2019.

 As a nation, we hold a depository of brilliant people within and outside the shores contributing to global innovations and knowledge for the advancement of humanity. At the same time, we find it difficult to harness and interpret the abundance of such resources for the wellbeing of our nation

The nation must engage and effectively deploy technology to remove barriers to system efficiency with high-performance apps and utilities.  Imagine a Nigeria whose citizens are accurately counted and identified. Imagine a Nigeria where all immigrants are properly documented. Imagine a Nigeria where the cities are monitored and made secure. It is only when such a Nigeria exist, that our economy will develop, insecurity will be contained and corruption addressed.

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