Barring any changes by the National Assembly on the 2017 budget, some 593 federal government entities are to spend N2.323 billion on internet access charges and provision of information technology facilities, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek has learnt.
Investigations revealed that this figure does not include the many interventions by internet donors such as NITDA, NCC, CBN, PTDF, and others that are not reflected in the federal budget.
This is also separate from the service wide vote for “Funding of Galaxy Backbone Infrastructure,” by Galaxy Backbone-the government-backed “Internet Service Provider”.
It gathered that Directorate of State Security Service (DSSS) got the highest allocation of N51million for this purpose while Centre for Disease and Control was allocated the least for this purpose with N49, 394.
It also observed that the N2.323 billion allocated to federal government entities for internet access charges and provision of IT facilities for few entities fall short of the N3.424 billion earmark for the same purpose in last year’s budget.
The drop in the amount was occasioned by a drop in the number of entities captured for this purpose; in last year’s budget 892 entities were allocated money for internet connectivity while this year it only allocated money for this purpose to 593 entities.
Reacting to Internet service delivery in the country Dewole Ajao, operations manager, Bandwidth Consortium, and Internet connectivity expert, said that because corporate Internet connectivity is prepaid monthly/quarterly/annually and the actual users are mostly ignorant of the terms and conditions, network operators easily get away with frequent service outages and degradation.
“Very few Nigerians are aware that they can penalize network operators for poor quality of service. Too many people just drop their shoulders in despair and accept frequent Internet service failure as a part of life. If every major customer were to be like me and run automated systems that keep evidence of service availability and quality to enable administration of penalties against network operators, many service providers will sit up and provide better services,” he explained.