We’re investing in tech for transparency, accelerate performance, Tinubu tells Gates

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By Mathew Dadiya

President Bola Tinubu has said his administration is investing in technology that is tailored towards ensuring transparency and accountability in government and accelerating public-sector performance and service delivery to the Nigerian people.

Speaking during a meeting with Microsoft Founder and Philanthropist, Bill Gates, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Special Meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, President Tinubu said technology is a potent weapon against corruption and financial impropriety in public service.

Emphasizing his unwavering commitment to deliver reliable technology that will support a national consumer credit system and many other critical new government interventions for all Nigerians, the President said resistance is often expected when efforts are made to strengthen systems and forestall malfeasance.

“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,” the President said.

Recounting how he deployed technology to enhance the revenue base of Lagos State as governor, President Tinubu said he ensured the collection and utilization of essential data, creating an efficient tax system for the state.

“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,” the President said.

In his remarks, Mr. Gates informed the President of a one-identity technological platform that can integrate variegated data, while explaining the centrality of data harmonization to planning, security, and tax efficiency.

“We are working with Mr. Wale Edun, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, on digitization. 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.

“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. 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,” the former Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft said.

Gates said Nigeria has the capacity to manage this system and related-technological systems as the nation brims with talented youths.