Govt Urged To Promote Use Of ICT
8/24/2012 7:32:04 PM -
Economists have advocated the need for the government to leverage the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to promote socio-economic growth.
According to a renowned economist, Mr Kwame Pianim, the world had become technologically intensive, and Ghana would be pushed to the periphery of the global economy if it did not leverage on the intense usage of ICT.
Speaking on the theme “e-Payment as a Vehicle for Economic Development” at a press briefing organised by E-Transact, a leading payment platform in the country, Mr Pianim said “if you are an economy like Ghana and you do not become technology intensive and ICT empowered, you will be pushed increasingly to the periphery of global growth, and in terms of increasing standards of living, and you will continue to remain poor.”
He said both the government and businesses could benefit from this technology boom which has transformed economies in other parts of the world.
According to him, recent studies into economic development suggest that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in a country is closely co-related with development of infrastructure; quoting the Waverman study which suggests that a 10 per cent increase in public mobile penetration could lead to 0.59 per cent increase in GDP in a typical developing economy.
He was, however, quick to add that economic growth through development could only be achieved with the right infrastructure, in that “If you are talking about ICT, you need a broadband, a network and you have to have inter-connectivity. So it means that our telephone operators have to become efficient”.
“And if I need money from the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), it means that the ATM has to be properly maintained; this means that electricity has to be stable”, he said.
Mr Pianim was of the opinion that it was not surprising that the biggest global enterprise in terms of value is Apple and not Exon mobile, stressing, “it is how the world has become technologically intensive”.
The Director of Application System of the National Information Technology Agency, Ms Veronica Boateng, outlined some of the governments services that could be delivered online.
She said passport applicants could submit their requests online to the passport office, adding that the infrastructure would be integrated with the e-payment platform to enable applicants to make payments online.
“We also have services like the police background check, the renewal of drivers’ licences, which can also be done online. We have the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) delivering online marriage licences etc. All these agencies are delivering these services online to ensure that the citizens have a much more expedient way of getting the services from the agencies,” she said.