Gov’t Is Keen On Establishing A Digital Economy – Communications Minister

The Minister of Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, says government is keen on establishing a digital economy which will improve efficiency of government business.

She said the Ministry of Communications is currently implementing a number of projects under the e-Transform initiative namely e-Immigration, e-Parliament, e-Procurement, Tertiary Institutions Connectivity Program and e-Justice to achieve that goal.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful who said at the inauguration of the Board of Directors of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) in Accra, urged the Board to be proactive and efficient in its operations to ensure success in their endeavour.

The Board, which is chaired by Dr. Mohammed-Sani Abdulai, include, Jeffrey Konadu Addo, NITA Acting Director-General, Gerard Nana Kwakwa Osei-Tutu, Dr. Gezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng and Emmanuel Mensah-Bonsu.

Other members are, Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Ama Daaku, Kwasi Agyei Tabi and Ernest Andam Brown.

Section 9(1)(a) of the NITA Act, Act 771, 2008, enjoins members of the Board to “submit to the Agency a written declaration that includes details of their shareholdings, debentures or other interests in a company whether directly or indirectly owned, public or charitable appointments as well as directorships held by the member.”

The Act also enjoins members to inform the Agency of any change in respect of that member’s shareholdings, debentures or other interests in the company whether directly or indirectly owned by the member, and not knowingly make a false declaration.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said the successful implementation of the e-Transform initiative depended on the efficient management of NITA’s infrastructure and call on Board and management to work to ensure high service level attainments.

She said the Communication Ministry, has set a target to enforce the usage of Government Domain name across all Government Agencies and Department for the transaction of official business and NITA is expected to facilitate the achievement of the target.

The Communications Minister said to achieve all these targets, NITA needed to operationalise its regulatory mandate which has not been done since the law was passed in 2008.

She said government intended to scale up the use of technology at all levels to facilitate the implementation of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) -led socio-economic agenda for which reason, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has constituted the Board to deliver on this mandate guided by the principles in the NITA Act of 2008 (Act 771 and Act 778).

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said the President, in constituting the Board, considered the diverse expertise and experience of members and have no doubt that members will implement innovative strategies to resolve the challenges of the Agency and transform it into an effective organization capable of leading the implementation of the Digital Ghana Agenda.

She said government has made significant investment in building an extensive ICT infrastructure that has been placed in the care of NITA and expected that this will be managed efficiently and profitably.

The Public Services Commission has approved the administrative structure and scheme of Service to enable NITA engage qualified professionals into the Agency.

“I entreat the Board to support the management in its effort to build the requisite capacity for the agency.” She said.

“In view of the urgency of attracting and retaining requisite skilled manpower to manage government IT assets, I urge the Board to reengage the Public Service Commission to improve upon the conditions of service of your staff,” she said.

The Communications Minister said, her outfit has informed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to seek NITAs input before acquiring any IT solution, application, platform or device to ensure the inter-operability of the government IT architecture to end the culture of working in silos.

She urged the board to expedite work to ensure effective discharge of its mandate by Setting the standards for all IT applications, systems, devices procured by MMDA’S, to enhance regulatory functions by passing and implementing the requisite LIs and Establish Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to ensure secure online transactions, enhance delivery of online services and enhance e-government implementation, mindful of the ongoing work in this regard.

They are also to establish an effective customer complaints unit to address complaints from the public and MDAs on the quality of its service, develop an effective marketing strategy for use of the National Data Centre as a secure and safe infrastructure for data storage, Manage Government’s broadband infrastructure effectively to provide efficient services to its client and Recover subscription fees and charges for the supply of Bandwidth to MDAs.

Dr. Abdulai assured the Minister of the Board’s commitment to re-position NITA by building its human resource based to promote the government digital economy agenda.

He said the Board recognised the importance of ICT in a growing economy and that the responsibility of building a quality service delivery would be achieved through revisiting NITAs business strategy and leverage the Community Information Centres to become learning centres of its various locations.

NITA was set up under the National Information Technology Act (Act 771) of 2008 and mandated to regulate the deployment of ICT, Promote standards in technology applications and ensure high quality of technology service among government agencies at the national, regional and local levels in a harmonized manner.

It is also to Promote private sector partnership in ICT deployment, ensure security of networks at all times, advise the Ministry on policy review in the ICT sector and Investigate, resolve disputes between license holders under the Electronic Transactions Act referred to the Agency by license holders and to certify all agencies established under the Electronic Transactions Act, 2008 (Act 772).