16.04.2005 General News

Information Technology vital for devt - Botwe

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Accra, April 16, GNA - Government is promoting the application of Information Technology (IT) to improve the quality and efficiency of public services to enable easier flow of information, Mr. Dan Botwe, Minister of Information said on Saturday.

This, he said, was to help raise accountability and transparency in the management of national resources.

Speaking at the 44th Graduation ceremony of the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra Mr Botwe said it was in that direction that government had formulated the "Ghana ICT for accelerated development policy" to chart a roadmap for the nation in the emerging information society and knowledge-based economy.

The policy took into account the aspiration and the provisions of key socio-economic development framework document including the socio-economic framework; the Ghana Poverty reduction Strategy (GPRS) and the Co-coordinated Programme for Economic and Social and Social Development of Ghana.

The Minister said the National Fibre Backbone, an initiative taken by Government to connect the country from the north to the south, the installation of Wide area Network to connect Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the development of communication centres in selected districts on pilot basis and for all districts in the long term to promote e-Government had started "yielding positive results."

The development of communication infrastructure was being tackled vigorously to promote the telecommunication sector, improve broadband service and enhance broadcasting facility.

He noted that once ICT initiatives were fully adapted, media houses could transform the newsroom into cable and network centres where journalists could utilize all the available ICT tools to easily coordinate material for publication or broadcasting.

Mr Botwe said the key to ICT adoption was to create the necessary awareness backed with an aggressive human capacity building through workshops, seminars among others with local and international institutions to advance optimal usage of ICT infrastructure, which was already in place.

He said there was the need for the private sector to collaborate with government because government alone could not find the investment capital for the development of ICT and that the time to move ICT forward was now because other countries were making fast advances in ICT and other technologies.

He charged the graduates to use the knowledge acquired bearing in mind that practice of the trade was undergoing rapid, progressive and dynamic changes in the communication industry.

"Of prime importance is that your media practice should contribute positively to the advancement of the nation's development agenda", he added.

Mr David Newton, Director of GIJ said as part of efforts to improve training facilities, the institute had taken delivery of a consignment of audio visual and broadcasting equipment donated by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) at the cost of 120,000 dollars, which would be installed and put to use by the beginning of next academic year.

He said the Institute was hopeful that the Legislative Instrument (LI) to complete the upgrading process would make its final journey from the Attorney General's Office to parliament for a smooth take off. Mr Abu Issah Moro, Acting Student Representative Council President said despite numerous appeals made to government the institute still found itself in a sorry state, defeating the idea of the founding father, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

He said students were fed up with the numerous problems confronting them and the unfulfilled promises of politicians on yearly basis whenever they attended such occasions.

He called on the new minister to come to the aid of the institute as a matter of urgency in the areas of ICT and the development of the new site.

In a solidarity message the Ghana Journalists Association said the challenges of democracy and globalisation placed greater responsibility on GIJ and with the importance of information in a rapid developing world the GIJ products should brace themselves to help improve the communication process and information flow throughout the world.

"As you go into the world and begin to practice what you have learnt the GJA urges you to stringently observe the ethics of you chosen profession, promote democracy and work in interest on national development", the message said.

Diplomas in communication studies were awarded to 92 successful students.

Ms Sandra Ntiri-Darko took home three awards, including the most promising female student journalist while the overall best student award went Mr Moses Othniel-Moses.

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