NITDA Director General Affirms that Embracing Blockchain Policy Will Elevate Security and Transparency in Government Processes

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The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, emphasized the pressing need for the adoption and implementation of Blockchain policy and technology in Nigerian institutions. He highlighted the growing distrust in governance due to the manipulation of government processes by corrupt individuals. Inuwa asserted that embracing Blockchain could significantly enhance the effectiveness, security, and transparency of government processes, thereby rebuilding the trust of Nigerians.

In a seminar organized for Course 32 by the National Defence College (NDC), Inuwa addressed participants, including officers of the rank of Colonel and their equivalents from the Nigerian Armed Forces, senior officers from the Nigerian Police Force, and public servants from strategic Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in Nigeria. The Director General delivered a lecture titled “Blockchain Technology for Improved Transparency in Governance: Blockchain-Based Public Procurement in Perspective.”

During the lecture, Inuwa identified bribery, bid rigging, extortion, coercion, and fraudulent bid submissions as significant challenges to the traditional procurement process. He specifically acknowledged the commitment of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, facilitated through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, to leverage Blockchain technology in addressing these challenges.

He emphasized that Blockchain technology facilitates the creation of a secure, transparent, and tamper-proof record, underscoring the significant advantages it offers in terms of data integrity and trustworthiness. “It is secure because digital files are cryptographically signed by an issuer and registered on the Blockchain; it is transparent because it is broadcast openly and it is tamper-proof because it is blocked in a distributed manner,” he emphasized.

Illustrating the stages of a Blockchain transaction process, he explained that transactions commence by initiation on the Blockchain network and subsequent verification through cryptographic technology involving both public and private keys. Inuwa clarified that the verified transaction is then incorporated into a block, which functions as a batch of transactions.

He informed the audience that once a block reaches a specific specification or size, it undergoes inclusion into a chain alongside other blocks through a process known as “consensus.” This entire chain is then distributed to all nodes within the network, ensuring the creation of a tamper-proof record.

Acknowledging the economic significance of Blockchain and its substantial influence on national development, the head of NITDA revealed that “according to PricewaterCoopers (PwC), Blockchain will add $1.76 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and every country today is trying to position itself on how to benefit from this,” he stated.

He noted the importance of Nigeria adopting the implementation of Blockchain technology, citing its potential applications in administrative tracking and tracing, digital identity management, smart contracts, supply chain management, healthcare systems, electronic voting processes, and various other sectors.

“So, looking at these applications, you can easily connect this to public procurement because the essence of public procurement is to ensure that government acquires good services and work in a transparent, efficient and cost-effective manner”, he said.

In addition, Inuwa emphasized that Blockchain technology will play pivotal roles in enhancing transparency and openness throughout the various stages of a procurement process, including planning, bidding, evaluation, implementation, and monitoring.

Highlighting the significance of this technology, he revealed that the National Blockchain Policy was approved by the Federal Executive Council on May 5, 2023, and subsequently launched on the 15th of the same month. The Director General underscored the government’s commitment to implementing the thematic areas outlined in the policy document, which include Talent Development, Innovation, and Adoption. He highlighted ongoing collaborations with relevant institutions and initiatives aimed at fostering the growth of the Blockchain ecosystem.

 “We partnered with Dominion to train Nigerians and we have trained 32,000 Nigerians on Blockchain and how to apply the technology in different areas,” he stated.

He revealed that the Agency has collaborated with the National Youth Service Corps for the issuance of discharge certificates to corps members, emphasizing that the technology will effectively eliminate certificate forgery. Furthermore, he expressed the intention to extend this implementation to other institutions.

In addition, he mentioned that the Agency has joined forces with the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the broader ecosystem, to conduct an innovation challenge focused on leveraging Blockchain for accelerating the adoption of the e-Naira.

He concluded by saying, “these are the things the government is doing to accelerate the use of Blockchain and we are also open to working with you and collaborating with your research fellows to see how we can work together in developing your processes”.

In his opening remarks, Rear Admiral Olumuyiwa Olotu, the Commandant of the NDC, expressed gratitude to the NITDA boss for his presence at the event. He highlighted the purpose of the gathering, stating that participants were assembled to gain insights into fostering national unity for the advancement of their respective missions, security, and development through the application of science and technology.

Acknowledging the government’s substantial investments in science, technology, and innovation programs to bolster national development and security, the Commandant disclosed an ongoing collaboration with Oracle. Together, they are actively developing technology aimed at reforming civil service processes and improving data management across the nation.

He added by stating that, “with this initiative, the government aims to promote the ease of real business, digital innovation, effective identity management, efficient payroll administration, and qualitative citizen service delivery in Nigeria”.

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