Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has bemoaned the high cost of internet service in the country and asked the service providers to consider free internet for Ghanaians.
He noted that the low cost of broadband services and availability of internet in rural communities would aid the Government’s digitalisation agenda to ensure quality delivery of public services.
He cited Estonia where internet services were offered for free and said the service providers could replicate it in Ghana.
Vice President Bawumia made the appeal in his presentation at a panel discussion at the Ghana Digital Roadmap Conference on the topic: “Overview of Current ICT Policy Framework and Gap Analysis” in Accra on Wednesday.
The conference was organised by the Vice President Secretariat and Ministry of Communications, under the theme: “Moving Ghana Beyond Aid: Expanding the Local Digital Economy “.
It brought together stakeholders in the ICT industry, development partners, captains of industry, the diplomatic community and ministers of state to review the country’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Accelerated Development Policy.
It was also to identify the gaps and provide the right framework to harness the benefit of the digital economy.
The Vice President entreated every Ghanaian to register for the Ghana Card since the National Electronic Identity Register would serve as a central database for all public institutions to be connected for information.
He said the Ghana Card, upon completion, would serve as the National Health Insurance card and Ecowas passport since every individual’s information would have been captured in the central database.
Vice President Bawumia, in a keynote address earlier, said countries that had adopted technology and improved their human capital had experienced tremendous economic growth over the years.
Therefore Ghana could not afford to be left behind in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he added.
In that vein, Dr Bawumia said the Nana Akufo-Addo-led Government, upon assumption of office, initiated digital transformational programmes to build a new “Ghana Beyond Aid.”
Some of those initiatives included the instant issuance of the Ghana cards, e-business registration, e-justice system, digital property addressing system, mobile money interoperability system, paperless ports system, e-smart driver’s licence, electronic renewal of the National Health Insurance Scheme and online ticketing of the State Transport.
Dr Bawumia was of the conviction that adopting digitalisation would help the nation to overcome geographic barriers and inspire entrepreneurship as well as becoming the ICT leader in Sub-Sahara Africa by 2023.
The Vice President, therefore, urged the participants to ensure a comprehensive review of the ICT Policy and provide a roadmap for a blueprint of the country’s digitisation agenda.
The participants are expected to review the ICT for Accelerated Development Policy in line with digital opportunities and generate ideas to develop a digital strategy to establish Ghana as the leader in ICT innovation in Sub-Sahara Africa by 2023.
They are also supposed to come out with ideas to bridge the rural-urban ICT divide by expanding digital services to rural and underserved communities and improve efficiency in public service delivery.