In furtherance of the collaborative drive to ensure value for money on the procurement of Information Technology (IT) goods and services in the country, members of staff of Ministry Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been mandated to seek clearance from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) before deploying any IT project in the country.
The auditor general of the Federation, Mr Anthony Mkpe Ayine gave the charge based on the directive in a Federal government Circular No. SGF/6/S.19/T/65 of 18th April, 2006 which mandates Ministries Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) to seek clearance from NITDA before deploying any IT project in the country.
Ayine directed his workers to henceforth request for the clearance issued by the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) on any IT project when auditing the accounts of MDAs.
Mrs. Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations Unit at NITDA, in a press release, said that Ayine gave the directive to his workers at the Audit House when the Management of NITDA, led by Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the director general, paid a working visit to his office in Abuja.
The Auditor General informed the DG NITDA that, “the Office of Auditor General of the Federation would be pleased to collaborate with NITDA in the areas of development of Standards and the Regulation of the IT industry. Any MDA that introduces IT without NITDA’s clearance should be subjected to audit query.”
Earlier, Director General, NITDA, Pantami, stated that as the country’s IT regulator, NITDA is empowered by law to be the clearing house for any IT project in the country with objectives of reviewing, justifying, analyzing it for value, for money and to ensure sustainability.
He said,“We are here today to collaborate and seek for support when it comes to auditing IT projects of MDAs and we want your office to always request for clearance obtained from NITDA by MDAs whenever you are auditing them.”
Pantami explained that the law enables NITDA to prosecute any violator of the Act, adding that attempts are ongoing to call violators to order and if they do not retrace their step, “We will be glad to press charges against them and commit them to jail terms”.
The DG stated that the Auditor’s office and the Agency need to collaborate in auditing IT projects, adding that most MDAs use IT project to siphon public fund and auditing the IT projects in line with the Federal Government Circular would help a lot in reducing this anathema.
He hinted that presidency has been supportive of the Agency by redirecting MDAs to seek clearance from NITDA before embarking on any IT project, noting that recent intervention of the Federal Executive Council on a memo from one MDA on IT project has recently saved the country of N500 million.
He lauded the Office Of The Auditor General of the Federation on the audit report on the Agency, and assured that the report would be implemented to the latter as 90 per cent of it has been implemented so far.
He said, “I am the first Chief Executive Officer of the Agency to have implemented the audit report on the Agency. We reviewed the report by constituting credible people who were not in any way indicted in the report and their recommendations have been implemented up to 90 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent are those that came forth with argument which the Economic and Financial Crime Commission is handling.”
The Auditor General further commended the DG NITDA for daring against all odds to implement the audit report, adding that he has a partner in Dr Pantami, who is someone the country is yearning for.
“I am glad to hear that without being compelled, you implemented the audit recommendations. This will reinforce the auditing system and help the country in its anti corruption war, with the ultimate goals of having accountability and transparency which are pillars of good governance,” he said.