Digitization to be prioritized by the Government for economic transformation
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The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has made it known that one of the government’s cardinal principles is to make digitization a priority to ensure economic transformation and innovation.
In a speech given by the minister at the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic policy to Parliament, the minister said that, Government, in partnership with the private sector, is a good deed and must be supported since it is a right path towards digitizing government services to enhance delivery, improve the lives of citizens, and promote a supportive business environment. Said the Minister
He said, “We have, since 2017, sought to formalize the Ghanaian society by leveraging technology and digitization to improve administrative systems and increase transparency. Leveraging technology improves efficiency, limits human interactions, and improves traceability of transactions. Government has successfully implemented a number of transformational initiatives at the heart of which is the National Identification System.’’
He added, “The introduction of National ID Cards is a game-changer. When completed, it will form the basis of an integrated database with Passports, Tax Identification Numbers, Drivers’ Licenses and Pensions data.”
The minister emphasized how useful the introduction of the paperless port system has been. As it has eliminated the multiple layers of clearing agents, reduced the time to clear goods, and increased revenue mobilization.
He also stated how the use of the digitization process has helped in digitizing driver’s license and vehicle registration as well as the implementation of mobile money payments interoperability.
“We now have what we call Triangular Financial Inclusion anchored on three main payment platforms – bank accounts, mobile wallets, and e-zwich cards. This is a major step to financial inclusion and movement towards cashless payments for government services. With these payments’ architecture in place, we are moving next to make all payments for government services and government transfers to persons and businesses to go cashless by June 2020”. He said.
He also added on how applying for passport, registration and renewing of the National ID are all been done online and this process has also helped in removing falsification of records and multiple identities in such sectors and that, renewal of the National Health Insurance Scheme via mobile phone, for instance, had been a phenomenal innovation, eliminating the need for queues, delays and bribery, and also increasing access to health care by those who needed the services the most.
Ghana now uses drones to deliver critical medical products, blood products, medical cargo, emergency vaccines, lifesaving and essential medicine on demand across the country joining Rwanda as one of the few countries in such service activity.
“No hospital or clinic is too remote in the delivery of health services.’’ said the Minister.
The digitization service has also extended to lands and has helped in settling of land disputes by keeping good records as compared to the previous process which always sparks misunderstanding due to mistakes of multiple sales. The use of blockchain technology in the land registry has helped in dealing with problems.
“These innovations are intended to improve the overall platform and the ways and means by which citizens, businesses and the public sector conduct their activities – Citizen to Citizen, Business to Citizen, Government to Citizen, and vice versa.” Said the Minister.