An e-government project in Nigeria's Delta state, an oil producing region and one of the nation's most developed micro-economies, has reaped rewards, according to a government spokesman.

Charles Nenyiaba, a special assistant to the commissioner for finance within the Delta state, spoke about the project, named e-Delta, this morning at the State IT Agency's GovTech conference, at Sun City.

More than 20 service providers showed an interest in the implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, with SAP winning over PeopleSoft and Magic, added Nenyiaba. "Deloitte and Touche were consulted, and in 2002 the state government began a phased computerisation approach," he explained.

"We had many problems," he explained. "It used to take three to four months to prepare a one-year budget, for instance." Government utilities and service delivery was very poor, he noted. "Through our efforts of improving ICT through the e-Delta project, government is able to get quick access that is crucial for decision-making and policy formulation – and thus helps service delivery," he added.

The project – which cost about one billion naira (US$7.9 million)  – faced challenges in its various phases, mainly change management, a fear among many users that they would become redundant, technological illiteracy, and a variety of business process issues, Nenyiaba noted. However, today there are 22 university graduates with MySAP certifications managing e-Delta, and the systems are running smoothly, he said. The most obvious benefits, highlighted Nenyiaba, are Internet facilities, and the greater accuracy and timeliness of system-based payroll processing.