The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications, Mr. Musa Istifanus has pointed out that Open data enhances transparency in governance and this can help mobilize citizens to participate in governance positively.
He stated this during Nigeria Open Data Conference for the North West Zone in Kano State.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the Ministry has developed a draft Open Data Policy and Action Plan that will enhance the releases of certain Data Assets across different categories of economic sectors in the country.
“Open Data is an integral part of the global data revolution. It is a programme through which countries manage their data assets as a national resource to create an innovative economy for jobs, service delivery and to promote economic growth. This, they do by making available, through online platform non-sensitive data to citizens and other stakeholders in reusable, machine readable formats for planning and economic decisions making”.
He said in view of the dwindling revenues from Oil and Gas accruing to the nation, there is the need for alternative revenue base for achieving the main policy thrusts of Government and Open Data Initiative offers this new opportunity.
Istifanus stated that his Ministry, in its efforts towards promoting Open Data Economy, started holding stakeholders’ sensitization workshops and have established the Open Data Working Group saddled with the responsibility of primary governance of this new initiative.
“Our efforts so far have yielded some results as many data companies and civil society groups are keying into the Open Data ecosystem and urged stakeholders present to join the Ministry in validating the draft Open Data Policy and Action Plan”.
The Managing Consultant, PacePact Consulting Limited, Mr. John Eweama stated that data must be in open format to enable citizens to access and utilized for innovation by entrepreneurs for maximum benefit to the citizens and the economy.
In her contribution, Chindima IIechukwu from the Attorney General of the Federation Office said that Open Government Partnership (OGP) provides opportunity for government and citizens to jointly made policy for the good of the nation.
She added that the key component of the OGP are access to information, Anti-corruption, citizen’s engagement and transparency which would enable citizens to subject government policy to public scrutiny.
Earlier, the Director (ICT), Ahmed Musa Jubril, who represented the Kano State Commissioner for Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, stated the initiative would open up non-sensitive public data assets to promote a new ICT- powered data industry.
He added that Open Data operations is expected to reduce poverty through employment creation as well as attract investment to the economy of the nation.