The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says the investments the Akufo-Addo government has made in its digitization efforts have put Ghana on the path to becoming one of the most digitized economies in Africa.
He said the Akufo-Addo government inherited an economy that was largely manual with the majority of the population unbanked, but the situation is different today.
Dr. Bawumia made the assertion in a special Bawumia Speaks Lecture Series as part of the Nation Building Updates on Thursday, November 26, 2020.
He said the government’s ability to register more than half of the population for the National ID card and digitizing the process for acquiring a drivers’ license and passport are but a few of the many digitization interventions that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has introduced.
“Just within the last four years, it’s phenomenal what has happened and Ghana is clearly on its way to becoming one of the most digitized economies in Africa.
“Specifically, we have registered and issued biometric national ID cards which the NDC government could not do in 8 years. 15.5 million people have been enrolled and the process will be completed in the first half of 2021. This has provided us with a database that will be the anchor for all transactions in the future providing a unique identity to all individuals,” he said.
“We have also implemented a digital address system covering every square inch of land or water in Ghana. In the process, we have identified and provided unique addresses for all properties in Ghana, about 7.5 million properties,” he added.
The Vice President said the previous NDC government did nothing to improve systems that directly impacted service delivery in Ghana.
He said the NDC government superintended over long queues for common services such as renewal of National Health Insurances cards with cash-based transactions being the most common means of payment, but now renewal of NHIS card is digital and can be done in the comfort of one’s home or office at very little cost.
“Most transactions were cash-based, less than 10% of the population had tax identification numbers and obtaining the driver’s license, passport, renewing NHIS card, obtaining birth certificates, manual and cumbersome court processes were not only inefficient and costly, they became breeding grounds for corruption as bribes were demanded to circumvent the cumbersome processes,” he said, adding that despite the many challenges the situation posed to citizens and the Ghanaian economy, no government before Akufo-Addo was able to tackle it.
Under the NPP government also, the financial sector interoperability has been implemented and that allowed citizens to transfer moneys between their mobile money wallets and bank accounts without having to go to banking halls, adding that it has given over 15 Ghanaian access to banking services without necessarily owning regular bank accounts.
Government also implemented a Universal QR Code, that allows even roadside retailers, to receive electronic payments from their customers and also make payment for their inputs electronically.