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WEF: Nigeria’s Investments in technology to enhance transparency, service delivery to consumers –Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR (centre) with Mr. Mr. Bill Gates, (l), in a Meeting on the Sidelines of the World Economic Forum Special Meeting, in Saudi Arabia

*President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at a recent meeting with Bill Gates on the sidelines of World Economic Forum, in Saudi Arabia, describes  technology as  ‘a potent weapon’ against corruption and financial impropriety in public service

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government is investing in technology, that is designed to ensure transparency and accountability in government and accelerating public-sector performance and service delivery to Nigerians.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu stated this while speaking during a meeting with Mr. Bill Gates, philanthropist and Founder of Microsoft Corporation, in the United States (US), on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Meeting Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

ConsumerConnect reports President Tinubu averred that technology is a potent weapon against corruption and financial impropriety in public service.

The Nigerian leader also emphasised his administration’s unwavering commitment to delivering reliable technological tools that would support a national Consumer Credit system, and several other critical government interventions for all Nigerian consumers.

Tinubu, however, noted that resistance is usually expected when efforts are made to strengthen systems and forestall malfeasance in the public system.

The President stated: “Technology is the enemy of fraud, corruption, and irregularity. We have been working hard on improving technology.

“There is always the initial resistance. Corruption, self-interest, and fraudulent activity will always be an enemy.

“But when you bend that curve, you will receive the benefit. The nation will receive the benefit.”

Going down the memory lane about his experience as Governor of Lagos State, Tinubu also recalled how he deployed technology to enhance the revenue base of the state, fondly called the commercial capital of Nigeria.

President Tinubu related that at the time, he ensured the collection and utilisation of essential data, creating an efficient tax system for Lagos State.

He further said: “When I was governor of Lagos State, I faced challenges. I started with N600 million and ended up with over N8 billion.

“And right now, they are targeting a trillion Naira with the use of technology in the state. There is no other shortcut.

“We must invest in technology. We must focus, be diligent, and work hard.”

Nigeria has talented youths with capacities to manage tech systems, says Gates

Speaking at the meeting, Gates informed President Tinubu of a one-identity technological platform that can integrate variegated data, while explaining the centrality of data harmonisation to planning, security, and tax efficiency.

The Co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation stated: “We are working with Mr. Wale Edun, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, on digitisation.

“Before you came into office, there were a few things attempted in identity management. But they have been very scattered. There have been multiple identification systems.”

Gates explained now, “there is a plan to take that technology called MOSIP, and use it for this identification platform so that people can get digital benefits.

“We are providing support for that, and we can provide more support.

“With MOSIP ID, there is potential application in all government payment programmes.”

He also noted: “It helps with payment efficiency and bank accounts, and eventually, when everyone is using that, it makes tax collection easier. That benefit will take a few years.

“However, there will be more bank accounts, more financial inclusion, and effective government payment programmes.”

According to Gates, a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft  Corporation, Nigeria has the capacity to manage this system and related-technological systems as the nation brims with talented youths.

“The last time I went to the Microsoft office, in Lagos, I saw the amazing work that they were doing and how they were growing their operations.

“So, you have a lot of Nigerian talents to manage these systems.”

Besides, the American multibillionaire businessman discussed some high-yield seeds and a variety of crops with the potential for improved productivity and nutrition in all regions of Nigeria.

He also cited countries, such as the United States (US) and Brazil that have been using these seeds, and they have been tested and certified as safe.

Gates further stated: “There is no safety issue with these seeds. Supporting the Minister of Agriculture’s effort in this regard is something that we feel is important and worth supporting.”

Responding to Gates’ submission, Tinubu said: “We will look at this and work on it further. I am proud of Nigeria’s youths. They are very excited and creative with technology. “They encourage us as we continue to press our reform efforts forward for their future prosperity.”

The President added: “This is Nigeria’s time to become what it ought to be.”

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