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Blockchain tech policy implementation will enhance secure, transparent processes in Nigeria –NITDA

Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA , Delivering a Lecture to Participants in Course 32 at the National Defence College, Abuja, FCT Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, advocates the adoption and implementation of Blockchain policy and technology by institutions in Nigeria to enhance effective, secure and transparent government processes, and ultimately, earn the trust of the citizenry

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has said in view of increased distrust in governance in Nigeria with the manipulation of government’s processes by corrupt persons, it has become “highly imperative that Blockchain policy and technology be adopted and implemented by institutions in the country to enhance effective, secure and transparent government processes in other to earn the trust of Nigerians.

ConsumerConnect reports Inuwa stated this at a seminar organised for Participants in Course 32 by the National Defence College (NDC), with the theme of his lecture as: “Blockchain Technology for Improved Transparency in Governance: Blockchain-Based Public Procurement in Perspective”.

NITDA Friday, November 24, 2023, stated the participants in the seminar were drawn from Officers in the rank of Colonel and their equivalents from the Nigerian Armed Forces, Senior Officers from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and public servants from strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies  (MDAs) in Nigeria.

Major challenges of traditional procurement process, by Inuwa

Whule listing bribery, bid rigging, extortion, coercion and fraudulent bid submissions as major challenges to the traditional procurement process, Inuwa noted that the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, is committed to leveraging the use of Blockchain technology in addressing these challenges.

The NITDA Director-General also said that Blockchain technology enables a secure, transparent and tamper-proof record.

Benefits of Blockchain technology

According to Inuwa, Blockchain technology “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.”

In highlighting the steps in a Blockchain transaction process, he said that transactions are first initiated on the Blockchain network and then, verified using cryptographic technology which has both public and private keys, Inuwa stated that transaction would be added to a block which is a batch of transactions.

He further informed the participants that when the block attains a particular specification or size, it is thereafter added to a chain of other blocks through a process called a “consensus,” and distributed to all nodes within the network to achieve a tamper-proof record.

In terms of value addition, Inuwa asserted the economic value and impacts of  Blockchain on national development enomous, saying, “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.”

Nigeria, he stated, needs to embrace the implementation of Blockchain technology as it can be applied in administrative tracking and tracing; digital identity; smart contracts; supply chains, healthcare systems, electronic voting processes and many more.

“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 averred.

Blockchain technology for improved transparency, openness

Inuwa further asserted that Blockchain technology will play critical roles and improve transparency and openness in the planning, bidding, evaluation, implementation and monitoring stages of a procurement process.

Recognising the importance of this technology, he disclosed that the Federal Executive Council approved the National Blockchain Policy May 5, 2023, and it was launched on the 15th of the same month.

The Director General underscored the government’s efforts at implementing the thematic areas of the policy document which are Talent Development, Innovation and Adoption through various collaborations with relevant institutions and initiatives developed to spur the ecosystem.

He said, “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.”

The Director-General as well disclosed that the Agency had partnered with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on the issuance of discharge certificates to Corps members.

The technology will put an end to certificate forgery and the implementation would be extended to other institutions in Nigeria, stated he.

Inuwa also said that NITDA had partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the ecosystem in conducting an innovation challenge on the use of Blockchain to accelerate the adoption of the e-Naira.

“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,” said Inuwa.

Earlier in his welcome address, Rear Admiral Olumuyiwa Olotu, Commandant of the NDC, had appreciated the NITDA Chief Executive for gracing the occasion.

Rear Admiral Olotu stated that the participants were gathered to gain insight into how national unity could be fostered to enhance their respective missions, security, and development through the application of science and technology.

He noted that the government has been investing massively in science and technology as well as innovation programmes to enhance the development and security of the country.

The Commandant further revealed that the government in conjunction with Oracle has been developing technology to reform the civil service processes and data management.

“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,” Olotu said.

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