Databases: arguably the pillar to any organisation operating online, it can also straddle between the success or downfall of the organisation. Being able to store and manage information is a crucial element from which facilitation in every sphere of operation in an organisation’s hierarchy is absolutely essential. In keeping track of KPIs to KRIs, Kimball Methodology to Inmon Approach, and ERD to Data Modelling, a one-stop database where all such data is stored, accessed, interrogated, and dispensed of at ease epitomises an organisation’s ability to stay afloat.
A comprehensive database in Nigeria will allow for a systematic organisation and cataloguing of information, this will ease up the bumbledom, pen-pushing, and endemic bureaucracy – such ease up will streamline innovative channels of consistent, and reliable access to information at the click of a mouse. A reliable and efficient database will smoothen the business of government thus operating efficiently whilst also keeping track of assets.
If Nigeria was a business or an organisation for that matter, it would have collapsed a long time ago. The genesis of most detriments bedevilling Nigeria have often revolved around the inexistence of a fit for purpose database, mismanagement, or maladministration; this has weakened our already ineffective institutions.
For a young and inexperienced democracy like Nigeria, a database is apposite to the functioning of its departments because an effective database could serve as hub server feeding the various institutions whilst curbing miscalculation and other human prone oversight. This will strengthen its institutions, states, and local governments; also, mitigation between the legislative, executive, and judiciary would enable the measurement and auditing of output against inputs.
For example, a land registry database will make it easier to not only interrogate through a centralised land title in the federation, but also speed up the search and registration of landed property by drastically reducing incidences of fraud, human error, loss to property, and other solicitation that may birth unscrupulous undertaking.
A pan-Nigerian database will hold the government accountable for every Nigerian whilst drastically improving security in Nigeria. It will enable the government to store the data of every Nigerian granting the federal government unfettered access to every individual in the country. This will prevent identity fraud, improve transparency, and make policing the country more effective. The Police will have their workload simplified, for example, during routine patrols, it will make it easier to identify vehicle registration, insurance, road worthiness, and if the driver is licensed to drive.
Furthermore, the importance of a database in the delivery of healthcare cannot be overemphasised. A working database will not only allow healthcare professionals instant access to information regarding the patient’s medical history but will also avail them access to world class healthcare resources to better treat their patients. Inbuilt interfaces will allow for easy referral of patients for different medical tests that need to be done whilst granting medics access to these results in real time. A database will also facilitate collaborative working amongst healthcare professionals through easy referral of patients to different specialists who can equally see real time intervention carried out by other healthcare professionals.
In addition, a well-managed database is paramount for the government to improve its tax inflows from the business community and improve performance. It will help the government track business operations, whilst making it easier to analyse data for better decision making based on accurate information.
A comprehensive database will allow for interconnectivity between the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue service (FIRS), it will also enable the accurate capturing of the qualitative and quantitative information of all goods imported into Nigeria by the customs whilst at the same time, permit the inland revenue to calculate taxes that are due to the government based on goods imported. This foolproof system will reduce to the bare minimum the problem of tax evasion by unscrupulous companies because the database will have information on the quantity of goods imported, the cost of the goods, freight and customs duty paid. This information can then be used to calculate taxation due to the federal government by assigning a certain mark-up percentage as profit from which the company will make a deduction for expenses before taxes are paid. This will also ease the collection of VAT as the federal government will assign a threshold annual turnover within which companies must charge and remit VAT.
Moreover, in the healthcare system, with a running database, patients will be allocated a unique identifier number which can be their national identification number (NIN) to which every detail about them is tied, a different interface for health workers allowing only health professionals access to patients’ health records. Different interfaces can be created for taxation, Vehicle and Driver licensing, security and many more; this can only be accessed by professionals working within these domains.
In Nigeria of today, the government seldomly carries out an impact assessment study before or after implementation of a major policy particularly the immediate, short, and long-term impact on the citizenry. Data mining from a competent government database will enable the government to analyse past trends and make predictions for the future. It will allow the government to study the before and aftereffects of government on the populace and make informed decisions on whether the goals of the policies are achieved or not.
In conclusion, the possibilities are endless and the benefits beyond measure. A comprehensive working database will allow for easy accessibility and management of data for a better-informed decision-making process. Therefore, the federal government needs to take deliberate steps to effect laws that will enable the creation of these databases or better still for the already existing databases to interface with each other for a holistic approach to nation building. The task begins by identifying who is a Nigerian citizen, local governments must be equipped with the technological knowhow and personnel who will ensure every birth in Nigerian is recorded, a live birth and birth certificate issued by the hospital and authorities respectively. Whilst an enormous challenge, tackling the issue in a holistic way starting from one department to the other will resolve this bane of Nigeria’s development within a decade.
At Bantupage® Media we want to drive discussions on national issues that will move Nigeria forward drawing inferences and comparisons from other developing nations around the world that have succeeded in this area given the similarities of our problems.