Politics of Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday said government had embarked on high speed broadband infrastructure to connect all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to improve access to information and services for the citizenry and businesses.
"The massive and modern infrastructure network is being developed under the Ghana-China Cooperation to make the deployment of enabling applications in governance, health, education and agriculture possible," he added.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Ernest Attuquaye Armah, Deputy Minister of Communication at the launch of e-Government Leadership Capacity Building programme in Accra.
The project is funded by the World Bank and the Government, in collaboration with the National Information Agency (NITA), Ecoinformatics Limited and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Vice President Mahama said the project aims at improving the enabling environment for the use and adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for economic development, and generated increased employment in the IT –enabled Service sector.
He stressed that under the programme, 900 public servants would be trained in the latest e-government trends, approaches and technologies including 750 e-leaders; comprising legislators, Judges, Ministers, District Chief Executives and 150 Public Sector Chief Innovative Officers (CIO) and e-Champions to facilitate the implementation of the project.
Vice President Mahama said the existence of e-Government network and the national data assured government of shared, secured and high speed connectivity for sharing information and applications in all the State agencies.
He noted that the completion of the programme would increase access of ICT services in rural areas, support the development of ICT business and facilitate the implementation of e-Government programme.
Vice President Mahama said the project was crucial as most e-Government programmes had failed due to lack of ICT orientation for government leaders in leadership and managerial positions.
He hoped that the outcome of the project would equip participants to take charge of government-wide technology and modernisation processes and the authority to drive the agenda of open government, citizen centricity and government transformation.
Mr. Yusupha Crookes, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, said, its core mission was to help reduce poverty and there was no better way of achieving that than through efficient public agencies to deliver services to the citizenry at a lower cost.
He said studies by the World Bank suggested that digitisation could boost growth rates by as much as 0.9 to 1.5 per cent points for every 10 per cent point increase in broadband penetration.
Mr. Crookes noted that about 85 per cent of Ghanaians had access to mobile phones, attesting to the fact that government was increasingly using ICT to improve its services delivery to the citizens.
He said the e-Government project would focus on ICT-enabled government transformation to create an efficient, transparent and responsive environment for rapid economic growth and better service delivery.
Mr. Crookes said the World Bank’s strategy for support of e-Government initiatives was based on a whole of government reform that placed emphasis on the cross cutting and coordinated policies, standards, infrastructure and services to ensure openness and security of the system.
Mr. William Tevie, Director General of NITA, said the NITA was established to lead the transformation of public service information management and efficient delivery of services by government to citizens.
He said several e-services initiatives had been started in sectors across MDAs, including the Birth and Death Registry, Passport Office, Registrar General’s Department and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to serve the citizenry via online service delivery.**