The opening ceremony of the 4th edition of the e-Government capacity building programme organized by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Communication, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN), Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and Korea Institute for Development Strategy, held recently at the Public Service Institute on Nigeria in Abuja.

The programme was meant for officers on grade level 14 and above, to enlighten them on the benefits of e-Government; and the expected derivable benefits of the training are on ICT policy, telecommunication policy, media policy, industrial policy, and technology policy, among others.

In her opening remark, the Country Director/Regional Representative of KOICA Nigeria Office, Mrs. Park Sook Hyun, gave a brief on the activities of KOICA in Nigeria, saying it was a welcome development to cooperate with the Nigerian Government on the project, adding that the country’s e-Government Master Plan had been completed.

According to Hyun, 410 persons from 80 MDAs had been trained in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in-country programmes, seven persons have completed master’s degree programme in e-Government, just as 89 persons have participated in the 1st to 6th bench-making training in South Korea.

She stated that at the end, the training will improve efficiency and transparency of public administration services, which is clearly stated in Nigeria’s Vision 2020, concluding that the project will continue to play a major role in strengthening the capacity of the Nigerian work force and that in no distant time, Nigerians will have a pool of more efficient work force equipped with relevant 21st century ICT skills for smart public administration.

In his Goodwill message, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, H.E. Noh Kyu-duk, extended a warm welcome to all participants, saying that economic cooperation between Nigeria and Korea has continued to grow quantitatively and qualitatively over the years.

He stated that the training represents another milestone in the success of the project for capacity building for e-Government in Nigeria, meant to also improve efficiency and transparency of public administration in Nigeria, and that the training will develop the capacity of federal workers which in turn will bolster government’s reforms efforts.

The Ambassador concluded that, it took Korea many years of tireless work to build and improve its e-Government system, and appreciated the efforts of KOICA, Korea Institute for Development Strategy, the Nigerian partners, Korean Professors, and the Nigerian lecturers for taking part in the training.

On his part, the Honourable Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Arc. Sonny Echono, appreciated the organizers for the modest efforts at the development of e-Government in the area of capacity building through KOICA.

He maintained that such training will improve the capacity of the workforce in the public sector to match up skills and capacity for effective service delivery in line with the positive change agenda of the present administration, stressing that government agencies perform better with e-Government globally and emphasized that the planned train-the-trainers course, professional course, e-security course, etc. will alleviate the performance deficit in the civil service.

At the seminar session, the Regional Coordinator, KAIST/SNU Alumni Association, West African Region, Dr. Patrick Oghuma, emphasized the value of e-governance, stressing that Korea is number one in e-Government in the world and that, sadly, Nigeria is still lagging behind occupying the 19th position in Africa.

Participants were later divided into two groups with different opinions on how to improve after the training and come out ideas as to how government could provide the enabling environment for e-Government to thrive; and electricity was identified as the main obstacle militating against kick-starting e-Government in Nigeria, just as the political will power to drive the process.

Present at the programme from the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) were the Executive Secretary/CEO, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma and the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs Mr. Alex Omijie.   

David Bassey

Department of Orientation and Cultural Affairs