FG Mulls Unifying Foreign Affairs Ministry, Missions’ Websites

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama.

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ICRC Director-General Michael Ohiani.

The Federal Government is planning to incorporate the website of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and those of all Nigeria’s Foreign Missions into one unified portal.

In a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mrs. Manji Yarling, said that the management of the unified web portal was proposed to be handled under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

She quoted Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama as having said this when he led a delegation to the ICRC to seek its regulatory guidance to manage the portal using a PPP model.

Yarling said that the portal, among other things, was aimed at providing a platform for stranded Nigerians to reach out and get help.

She said that the Minister and his team, who were received by ICRC Director-General Michael Ohiani and other management staff, briefed the ICRC on the project.

Yarling said that Onyeama also briefed the ICRC on the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s quest for effective management.

According to her, the Minister stated thus: “We have been looking for partners. So, we are here to present our projects for you to see where there could be possibilities for cooperation.

“I have been told that we can sell this to the private sector.”

Yarling said that the Foreign Affairs Ministry team gave more insights, saying the Ministry was attempting to achieve three things with the project, including Diplomatic Service Digitisation Initiative (DSDI), a Unified Website and the Nigeria Global Business Match and Citizens’ Help Desk.

The team said that the projects aligned with the priority of the current administration, which included the creation of a harmonised platform for the Ministry and its missions.

Yarling said that the team explained that the Citizens’ Help Desk was part of the development of clear guidelines to protect Nigerians abroad.

She said the team further explained that the project would provide multiple platforms for citizens abroad to reach out to government officials and have their issues resolved.

“Another aspect of it is the business match-making platforms to provide global jobs and opportunities to individuals and businesses in Nigeria.

“The very high-level infrastructure that we will need to support this are a virtual private network, an intranet, an active directory and an electronic document management system.

“With the services that we offer, we hope to achieve an integrated e-payment solution as well,” the Minister’s team said.

Speaking, the ICRC Director-General said that such a project could help in situations like the recent earthquake in Turkey.

Ohiani said that it would provide a platform for Nigerians to easily reach out to the mission to seek help for themselves or other Nigerians.

He said the project was laudable, adding that if a private sector operative was given to manage, there would be better optimisation and technology deployment.

“We can turn part of it into a marketplace where people can key in.
We have to find a way for it to make money so that the private sector can recoup its investment and remit some amounts to the ministry.

“We can seek a way to deploy artificial intelligence into these to make the operations more seamless.

“We will look at the areas that will require partial commercialisation, full commercialisation and those that we don’t have to charge for,” Ohiani said.

He assured the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the ICRC’s readiness to receive a business and financial model from the private sector through the Ministry on how to manage the project.

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