High Cost Of Data Impeding Adoption of Electronic Services.

In recent times, the government of Ghana has made conscious effort through digitalisation to build economic growth. This growth has mainly been through the provision services in most Ghanaian government ministries and agencies.

The government platforms administering e-services include the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) non-resident e-commerce or digital services registration portal and the Ghana gov platforms.

The adoption of e-services are contributing immensely in Ghana’s economic growth. Statistics report that e-commerces sales is expected to reach US$759 million in 2022 which is 19% more than that of 2021 which was US%638 million. In 2025, reports project US 1.3 billion.

Irrespective of the revenue being generated, the sustainability of E-services is dependant on the patronage of citizens and availability of infrastructure.

The limitation of the government’s digitisation agenda has been recognised as high cost of internet and poor connectivity in Ghana.

One of the country’s financial technology professional, Mr Francis Appiah, has therefore advised the government to consider data consumption as a utility resource by subsidising  its cost to create more adoption of E-services in the country.

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With that he is positive the adoption of E-services will soar and help the Ghanaian government to track and tax citizens to raise more revenue to develop the country.

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Mr Appiah this advice last Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at the Graphic Business or Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting which was on the theme: “Integration of E-Service into our economy: Implications for economic growth,”. Tuesday’s meeting was the first out of the four quarterly events scheduled for the year.

Mr Appiah made these remarks in an interview with the acting Editor of the Graphic Business, Charles Benoni Okine, shortly after the event said: “Increasingly the internet is a utility resource and no longer a resource of convenience and if we are to think of data as a utility then our thinking around how we price it will change. We must prioritise driving down the cost of data as a country to create more adoption.

“Data or internet is the foundation of our digital economy and without it, E-services will not happen,” he stated.

“I think the government needs to take a look at what components of theirs affect the price buildup of data and see where there is some flexibility and drop the rate that is being charged now for data so that as many people as possible can afford to consume it,” Mr Appiah stated.

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The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr Ato Afful, reiterated what Mr Appiah said, saying digitisation is becoming the way of the world.

Considering the trends, he said services and commerce are all becoming technology and mobile-based and Ghana has a great deal of benefitting if they shifted towards this direction.

From their opinions, it can be gathered that with all the benefits to be derived from E-servicing, data cost can be an impediment.

Many people do not want to pay for that extra cost that comes from patronising e-services especially in recent times.

With revenue from voice no longer generating as much it used to, Telcos are forced to shift the dynamics of their products which is through consumer data usage.

Especially with social media usage on the high, the government can expand the tax on data consumption in order to increase revenue.

At the meeting it can be concluded that E-services will be around for long, hence the government needs to support to increase uptick and in return grow the economy.

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