The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday said one of government’s cardinal principles is to prioritise digitization to ensure economic transformation and innovation.
He said there was no doubt that Government, in partnership with the private sector, were on the right path towards digitising government services to enhance delivery, improve the lives of citizens, and promote a supportive business environment.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said this when he presented the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament in Accra.
“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 Minister said: “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.”
On Digital Property, he stated that the process of tagging all four million houses with digital addresses was ongoing.
A biometric national identity and a digital address uniquely established personal and immovable property identity, he said.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said the introduction of a paperless port system had eliminated the multiple layers of clearing agents, reduced the time to clear goods, and increased revenue mobilization.
He said drivers licenses and vehicle registration had been digitized and well as the implementation of the 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 the automation of the application for Business Operating Permits at the Registrar General’s Department had removed the complexities of the process.
Passport applications were now being done online together with the National ID cards, which were eliminating the falsification of records and multiple identities.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said renewal of the National Health Insurance Scheme via mobile phone 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 has joined Rwanda in using drones to deliver critical medical products, blood products, medical cargo, emergency vaccines, lifesaving and essential medicines on demand to every part of the country, regardless of road infrastructure.
“No hospital or clinic is too remote in the delivery of health services,” the Minister said.
Touching on Land Digitisation, he said disputes on land ownership are prevalent and discouraged investments due to multiple sales, poor record-keeping and missing records despite all the efforts of “time and money” put into land reforms.
However, with the digitization of land registry and the use of block-chain technology the problem had been dealt with comprehensively.
“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.”