Ghana News Agency gets $348,000 News Management System

Mr John Tia Akologu, Minister of Information, on Thursday stressed the need to better position the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to efficiently execute its mandate of forging national cohesion through quality news gathering and dissemination.

He said, “democracy thrives in an environment of media pluralism, which is necessary to feed the citizenry with credible developmental information whilst at the same time providing a feedback loop connecting the people to the government and vice versa to make governance more participatory.

“But the question that comes to mind is whether the GNA has the needed infrastructure and technology to play a leading role in this crusading agenda. This is a question directed at the government and particularly the sector Ministry of which I head,” he said.

Mr Akologu, who was inaugurating the GNA’s News Management System and the relaunching its website in Accra, indicated that government’s efforts to re-tool the Agency had been positive except that a lot more needed to be done.

The Government of Ghana through the Public Sector Reforms Secretariat (PSRS) has under the Economic Management Capacity Building (EMCB)-PSR component programme, procured and installed the News Management System at the cost of $348,322.

He said the GNA had over the years lacked the necessary infrastructure and technology in its operations while the growing demand for information by the public required that the packaging and transmission of information was made faster.

“Speed counts in staying on course; but credibility can be compromised when care is not taken. The GNA cannot rely on obsolete machinery if it really intends to gain recognition as a credible media agency.

“It was in recognition of the emerging trends in media practice across the globe and particularly in Ghana that informed the procurement of the state-of-the-art server for the GNA and the resultant upgrade of the organization’s website,” he added.

Mr Akologu said the News Management System and the Website had the capacity to make the GNA a highly competitive news agency and tasked the Management to deploy qualified personnel to man the Server to ensure that the Agency maximized its operational capacities.

He was grateful to the various organizations that had over the years supported activities of the Agency and assured them, especially the financiers of the server that the GNA would continue to play a leading role in media practice in Ghana.

Mr Alhassan Azong, Minister of State, Public Sector Reforms, said the equipment would enhance the dissemination of news and help to gather, process and deliver news items to subscribers on timely basis.

He said the equipment came in handy to fulfill one of the media principles in Ghana’s National Media Policy – to promote technological competence and self-operation externally through their output.

The Minister said the sector’s activities were aimed at the delivery of quality service to the citizenry at all levels to create the enabling environment for accelerated economic growth.

“Over the years, Ghana has witnessed various reform activities in its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) across the country. Prominent among these reform activities are the Service Delivery Improvement Programmes, Public Sector Pay and Pension Reform, Subvented Agency Reform and Retooling of some agencies,” he said.

Mr Azong said the GNA was a beneficiary of the PSRS institutional support, in its bid to achieve its vision of becoming a first class centre of excellence in news gathering and reporting, using state-of-the-art technology and competent personnel and a preferred source of news in Ghana.

He mentioned the refurbishing of the Business Development Department and the provision of office equipment, desktop computers, laptops, printers and a photocopier machine in addition to a four-wheel vehicle and other specific areas of intervention and support to GNA.

“All these support is being provided this Agency because national news agencies in Africa were established as part of the Organization of African Unity’s strategy to decolonize information dissemination within and outside the continent and actively promote generation and dissemination of information geared towards the promotion of development related issues.

He said their efficacy was dependent on the kind of environment in which they operated and should be strategically placed to serve as the core of a country’s news gathering and distribution system.

Mr Azong announced that government had approved the implementation of a “New Approach Public Sector Reforms” which emphasised a strong partnership between the public and the private sector institutions for the creation of jobs and provision of food on the tables of Ghanaians.

He said under that approach, specific projects had been approved by the Cabinet for implementation by seven ministries – Energy, Communication, Interior, Tourism, Food and Agriculture, Environment and Science and Defence.

The Minister said it was expected that more agencies would be involved in that initiative to push forward the “Better Ghana” agenda by the Government.

He was grateful to development partners, especially the World Bank (WB) for their confirmed support to Ghana’s reform programmes and also commended Mr Walter Kwao Aniti, Director of Procurement at the PSR, for his role in getting the WB to support the GNA.

Mr Theophilus Mawusi Afele, Acting General Manager of the GNA, said though the Agency was very strong on the ground in news gathering nationwide, it had not been given the needed resources and attention over the years.

He said as a result of poor working conditions, lack of equipment and basic office facilities among other challenges, the Agency had lost dozens of its quality staff and called on the sector Minister, who happened to be a former staff, to assist in putting it on its past glory.

He also urged the Minister to help the Agency to secure the necessary support to cover 2012 elections more effectively.

Mr Afele also urged the staff to put in more effort to change the fortunes of the Agency.

“We are the key to change the destiny, direction and fortunes of the Agency… All hands have to be on deck to move in one direction..,” he said.

He acknowledged the contributions of his predecessor, Nana Appau Duah, and the former Information Technology Manager, Mr Kofi Baffoe and their team who worked day and night to see the project through.

The Acting General Manager was grateful to Infotech Global PTE Limited for developing the software and sponsoring the inaugural ceremony.

Mr Suresh Agawal, Managing Director of Infotech Global Limited, was grateful to the government of Ghana and the GNA Board for given the company the opportunity to be part of the project and pledged their continuous friendship.

Mr Reginald Laryea, the GNA Board Chairman, urged the Agency to make itself relevant to the situation on the ground and endeavour to remain the great source of foreign and local news.

He assured that GNA’s problems as enumerated by the Acting General Manager would not fall on deaf ears.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.