CEM REPORT, ICT | Pushing further in the digital economy agenda the 2023 budget recently passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari provides the sum of N11 billion for computer software acquisition for the year.
The budgeted sum provided for under the ‘acquisition of non-tangible asset’ item in the budget will see the Presidency and 12 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) spend the major chunk of the N11 billion.
A glossary analysis of the budget provision shows that the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, will spend the largest amount on software in 2023 as it budgeted N9 billion for the asset. This was followed by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, which is to spend N920 million on software acquisition this year.
The State House under the Presidency is to acquire computer software with the sum of N237.2 million, while the Office of the Vice President is to spend N96.6 million on software acquisition
According to the signed budget, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) is to spend N239 million while the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) is to spend N200 million on software.
The Ministry of Works and Housing budgeted N174.9 million for the item, while the Ministry of Education plans to acquire software valued at N169 million.
In the same vein, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) budgeted N159.6 million for the non-tangible asset.
The Ministry of Defence is allocated N150 million to spend on the acquisition of software this year as its Information and Culture counterpart budgeted N93.5 million.
The Ministry of Transport is to spend N40 million on the asset, while the Communication and Digital Economy Ministry budgeted N18 million.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has amidst concern by Nigeria’s ICT stakeholders that this aspect of the budget by MDAs constitutes a major channel of siphoning public funds stated that its IT projects clearance system for MDAs is helping to block some of the loopholes whilst saving the government billions of naira yearly.
The Agency also noted that billions of naira are being pushed by MDAs through Information IT projects because they are too technical to be scrutinised by the National Assembly during the budget defence.
However, according to the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Nigeria loses N156 billion annually to software importation and the institute believes this is being fuelled by MDAs with their penchant for the acquisition of foreign software.
IT experts have also stated that the country’s economy could have been benefitting from the annual budget for software by the government if half of the money are spent on local software.