The 66th annual New Year School and Conference opened in Accra on Monday, with the focus on exploiting opportunities in e-governance to improve information access to government business and better service delivery to citizens.
It was on the theme: “Improving the Performance of the Local Government System in the era of E-Governance,” placing information communication and technology (ICT) at the centre of government dealings with citizens.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Julius Debrah noted that e-governance has the tendency to solve numerous administrative challenges, including data storage and management.
He observed that e-governance would facilitate decision-making in local governance, improve revenue mobilisation and ensure effective management of resources in the assemblies.
The Minister who described the theme as relevant to government said the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) is creating data centre for all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to facilitate information sharing.
He said the NITA is also providing leadership in the application of ICT in public sector and government’s administration, adding: “All the regional capitals have therefore been fully linked to ICT connectivity and plans are underway to link all district capitals in the country as well.”
Mr Debrah stated there is urgent need for the government to enhance e-literacy and also sensitise and educate the public on the importance of technology to national development and the need for citizens to have access to government information throughout the country.
The Reverend Professor Cephas Omenyo, Provost, College of Education at the University of Ghana noted that ICT is undoubtedly at the centre of government dealings with citizens.
He said for the nation to flourish and prosper in the 21st century, Ghanaians ought to become innovative users of ICT, particularly at the regional and district levels, saying, “the future belongs to ICT”.
“There is no doubt that government’s decentralisation programme will see much efficiency and effectiveness when ICT is deployed to improve citizen access to government information,” he added.
However, Rev Omenyo observed that even when the ICT infrastructure is deployed it could only be meaningful when individuals have the critical digital literacy and access to the internet.