A report released by Public Private Development Centre (PPDC) has revealed that most Nigerians including those in the urban areas are not aware of laws and policies on the procurement of Digital Technology Systems (DTSs).
The report which was launched at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, also said that DTSs budget and procurement plans are not always available to the public adding that many Nigerians don’t know their rights when it comes to DTSs.
“For public access, such information is expected to be available on the public procurement platform the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO). Most of this information is, however, missing from the platform: Also, during the procurement process, the CSOs are expected to be present during the opening of bids, but that is not always the case as most times, CSOs are not invited to the bid opening processes,” the report said.
“Citizens including those located in the urban areas are not aware of the laws and policies that guide the procurement and use of DTSs,” the head of communication PPDC, Nnenna Eze said during the presentation.
The report obtained by LEADERSHIP Friday, said the government has increased procurement of DTSs to unify all identification information into a central database adding that the growing demand for Nigerian citizens to register for their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and voter’s cards is driving the government’s continued technology investment in the National Identification Management Database (NIMS).
“Currently, NIMS is being integrated with every other identification database in the country, such as the voter’s register, the BVN, the Immigration Service, the driver’s licence, and the telecommunications companies. This indicates an effort by the government to unify all identification information into a central database. With the unification of all databases, digital and policy experts are pushing for a new law, the Data Protection Bill, which will create an identification management authority- the Office of the Independent Data Protection Commissioner responsible for the regulation of data collection. The proliferation of databases for citizens’ information increases the opportunity for illegal access to citizens’ data, and the law aims to address such concerns,” the report said.
PPDC, however, called on the Nigerian government to prioritize data privacy and protection by amending the existing laws that relate to the use of DTSs to ensure that the procurement and use of DTSs do not infringe on the rights of citizens, thereby ensuring adequate protection of citizens’ privacy and personal data.
Senior programme officer of PPDC, Kachi Chukwu and chief operating officer (COO) of PPDC, Gift Maxwell both said the organisation’s three key areas of monitoring public procurement, access to information and open contracting has been able to entrench transparency in Nigeria.