Over the past 10 years Ghana’s economy has been regarded as a container economy due to the availability of metal and wood containers stocked with foreign products found at every point and corner across the country promoting foreign products .
The effect of trade liberalization has widely opened Ghana’s economy to cheap foreign products at the expense of local products.
To break the jinx, Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says he is determined to fight the system and transform the country’s economy from the container state to a digital one by relying highly on Information Technology .
The major programmes he and his government have outlined to help transform the economy include the paperless transactions at the various ports of entry, the digitization of the National Identification System which is expected to define Ghanaians from birth to death, the interoperability of the payment system, which is expected to be launched in November this year and the digitization of Ghana’s address system which is expected to combine the GPSS code system with the post code system .
The Vice President says that the NPP government “wants to transform the economy by making changes in critical areas by using Information Technology and we believe that the impact will be very good.”
He noted that inefficiency and corruption involving paper movement at the various ports of entry have deprived the state revenues running into millions of Ghana cedis. “That is why we thought of going paperless “he indicated that people are opposing the paperless system because it is depriving them of free (corruption ) money. He noted that since the paperless system was introduced in the month of September 2017, governments revenue increased in the first week by 56 perccent from GH¢130 million to GH¢213 million. He noted that by the end of this year it should not take four hours for containers to be cleared at the port with the introduction of the paperless system.
Dr Bawumia indicated that in building a knowledge economy there is need to build a strong human resource base and education plays a major role in this process, hence the need for the introduction of the Free Senior High School Education programme. It is the human capital that brings about technical change “so if you are growing an economy and a lot of your people lack education , then you have a problem.”
Dr. Bawumia disclosed that the move to digitize all of government’s operations have proved successful as initial assessment of the paperless system at the ports increased Ghana’s revenue collection.
“The results are amazing. We just looked at data this morning – first week of collections under the paperless system in September this year compared to last year’s first week of collections in September, and collections have gone up by 56 per cent; 56 per cent from around GH¢130 million to GH¢213 million in one week,” he noted.
He maintained that government is poised to achieve all the targets in digitization activities of state institutions and government agencies for maximum results.
He cited for example that the mobile interoperability will open the financial sector and encouraged the informal sector to be included in the economic data of the country for accurate forecast
By Adu Koranteng