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03.11.2021 Feature Article

Digitization Is Not Rocket Science Mr. Veep!

Digitization Is Not Rocket Science Mr. Veep!
03.11.2021 LISTEN

“If someone can convince you to believe in absurdities, they can equally convince you to commit atrocities”.

Mr. Vice President, we are not all living on the “other side” of the digital divide. Most Ghanaians, especially young ones, understand digital technology better than you. The digital language is a language of Netizens, young people.

Drones have been distributing prescription drugs from pharmacies to homes in many societies including the UK, the US, India, even Rwanda and some others for some years now.

Drone technology is imported, and not effectively deployed, yet our Veep is beating his chest about it as if he is the inventor of it?

In other words, this is nothing new. Any replication of this system in any other society is not a work of genius. Imitation is innovation but it is not invention.

That is why our Vice President deserves no applause for his long and self-endulging speech about digitalization blablabla!

Why, in all his long talk, he did not tell us how his NPP government is working on bridging the HUGE digital divide in our country. More than half our population does not have internet access, cannot use a smart device, cannot afford data. These are the people living on the other side of the digital divide.

Let’s take the cost of propelling digitization - the internet connectivity. Isn’t it true that Ghana is one of the places on earth with the most expensive data prices? How will the SHS students engage in research with the so-called “free tablets”? (By the way when you hear “free” from this govt, listen very carefully, and think again).

It is only in our country that our leaders take credit for a digital market that is led by the private sector. Our Government cannot even properly regulate the telecoms running the data business. Different networks are operating by their own rules.

For example, MTN takes money from its subscribers when they withdraw their own money. Other networks allow mobile money transactions for free.

Why is there no uniformity in the digital telecoms market? and why are consumers paying an arm and a leg for data and mobile money transactions? What is the purpose of the so-called interoperability Mr. digital Vice President?

Digitization or the deployment of digital technology must solve our commonsense problems. In other places, the efficient digitized system is solving practical problems of traffic jams that are costing us millions of productivity hours.

But here in our case, half of the traffic lights on our streets do not even work. Not even the traffic light in front of the police headquarters works in Accra.

How is digital technology solving the problems of corruption? Right here in Tanzania, all government services including tourists' sites and state utilities etc can only be paid for with POS machine, no cash payments.

Also in Tanzania, the govt has employed digital technology to prevent police from taking bribes for traffic offenses on the road. Tickets are issued to offending drivers to pay fines directly into govt coffers.

This has prevented diversion of govt revenue into private pockets in that country. Corruption dealt with a big blow.

Ghana is still far behind. The police are still arresting drivers and taking money from them on the streets. Go to the Cape Coast or Elmina castles and see for yourself that we have a lot of tourists visiting but little revenue is accounted for.

Why, because the system of payment remains analogue. If our so-called digital Vice President haven’t thought about these practical solutions from digital technologies, what then is he propagating? Water cooler gibberish?

Mr. Vice President, this attempt to pretend that digitization is rocket science that you are now introducing to Ghana is a lame attempt at throwing dust into the eyes of unlettered Ghanaians.

Digital technology has been here for decades. We have not managed to fully deploy it for the benefit of the masses because the digital infrastructure is in deficit, cost of data is skyrocketing, Internet connectivity and penetration is low, market players are not properly regulated, and Ghanaians have become victims of super profiteering telecommunications companies in cahoots with govt regulators.

In Next door Rwanda, the govt deploys “cyber optic umbrellas” or “digital tents” in various parts of the country to provide free WIFI to the public in an effort to bridge the digital divide and aim at “digital justice” in their society.

Again, our Vice President can learn practically from the Rwandans, the Tanzanians, Kenyans etc where they are using digital technology to the direct benefit of their people without falsely claiming that every digital solution in their societies is a novelty never seen anywhere in the world.

As a matter of fact, we have built very little, if any indigenous digital technology in our country under the watch of our so-called digital Vice President.

And this is why it is a total absurdity for our Vice President to claim that using drones to deliver prescription drugs from pharmacies to homes has not taken place anywhere else in the world, not even in the society where the drone technology was invented? And he’s now “inventing” the idea in Ghana? Like seriously?

Does the Vice President think we wash our faces upside down on this side of heaven? He should think again!!

Source: Sacut Amenga-Etego

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