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Ghana's new govt zeros in on data costs, innovation

Ghana's new govt zeros in on data costs, innovation

The Nana Addo Akufo-Addo-led Ghanaian government plans to lower the cost of data, create a centralised national database, bridge the development gap and boost innovation and technology.

Ghana's Minister-designate for Communication Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the government will actively engage local ISPs to lower the cost of data.

"The telecommunications sector is a private sector-led industry and so for us to derive maximum benefit from it, we need to have a good working relationship with them. Thankfully, I have been in the industry before and so the operators know that I understand the dynamics of the industry and will work very hard to ensure that the citizens derive maximum benefits from them, government also gets its tax revenues as and when needed and they also have a conducive environment within which to work," she said.

"The more they prosper, the more taxes they pay, and the better services they provide and everybody will be happy. We will work with the sector operators, the data broadband wireless operators, and mobile network operators themselves to see what we can do where we can derive the synergies which will help drive the cost down."

Centralised national database

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said the government is already working on the development of a centralised national database and is starting with the digitisation of state properties' records and data of Ghanaians.

The initiative will centralise the data of Ghana Police Service, Electricity Company of Ghana, Lands Commission, Administrator of Stools, Postal Courier Service Regulatory, Tema Development Corporation, Survey and Mapping Division, Land Valuation Division, and Land Administration Project.

It will also involve the active participation of the Forestry Commission, National Information Technology Agency (NITA), and Ghana Post Company.

According to the VP, the government wants to create a digital addressing system and will harmonise the different ways that various agencies and government establishments are identifying properties, hinged on different technologies – into a single data resource to aid national planning and economic development.

The VP noted that in addition to the unique identification for individuals, Ghana needs unique identification for properties, using the appropriate technology, to speed up efforts to formalise the economy.

He said: "The technology exists. We need to leverage on them to leapfrog to the next generation of property addressing. This goal has to be achieved this year, in tandem with the National Identification System. It is clear where we're headed. We're going digital addressing. We can take advantage of existing systems and integrate into them.

"We need to formalise our economy, and this [digital property addressing system] will be a major legacy that we will leave for generations to come."

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