Nigeria investing in technology for transparency, accountability, Tinubu tells Bill Gates

President Bola Tinubu (right) and Bill Gates.

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday said his administration is investing in technology tailored towards fighting corruption by ensuring transparency and accountability in government.

Tinubu described technology as a potent weapon against corruption and financial impropriety in public service. Therefore, investing in tech would accelerate Nigerian public-sector performance and service delivery.

“Technology is the enemy of fraud, corruption, and irregularity. We have been working hard on improving technology,” Tinubu told Microsoft Founder and Philanthropist, Mr. Bill Gates, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Special Meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.

Tinubu’s Spokesperson, Mr. Ajuri Ngelale, revealed the details of Sunday’s talks in a statement titled ‘President Tinubu to Bill Gates: technology is the enemy of corruption; we are investing in technology to ensure transparency and accelerate performance.’

The President said one area in which he would deploy technology for transparency is in his recently launched national consumer credit system and other critical government interventions as they are unveiled.

However, he acknowledged resistance to efforts to strengthen systems and forestall misconduct, adding that Nigeria can gain a lot from a corruption-free system.

“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.

Tinubu recounted his days as Governor of Lagos and how he deployed technology to enhance the revenue base of Nigeria’s commercial capital.

He emphasised collecting and utilising essential data to create an efficient tax system, saying, “When I was governor of Lagos State, I faced challenges. I started with N600m and ended up with over N8bn. 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 added.

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

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

“Before you came into office, a few things were 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,” Gates explained.

With MOSIP ID, the Microsoft founder said there is a potential application in all government payment programmes.

He added that the technology would help with payment efficiency and bank accounts and, when widely used, make 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 philanthropist clarified.

He attested to Nigeria’s 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,” Gates affirmed.

The businessman also spoke about some high-yield seeds and various crops with the potential for improved productivity and nutrition in all regions of the country.

He noted that countries such as the United States and Brazil have been using these seeds and that they have been tested and certified as safe.

According to him, “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.”

President Tinubu responded, “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. This is Nigeria’s time to become what it ought to be.”