Vice President of the Republic, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has ridiculed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) claiming they have no clue about the relevance of digitization of the economy.
The Vice President, delivering a speech on the economy at National Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON) Training and Orientation Conference Thursday evening, highlighted some digitization interventions by the incumbent government that, to him, is saving the country huge sum of monies and quickly transforming the economy.
He stated, with the government’s digitization initiative, persons can now open bank accounts from the comfort of their homes.
”For many banks today, anyone can open a bank account remotely on your mobile phone. You don’t have to visit a bank. You don’t have to fill any form. All you will need in Ghana today to open a bank on your mobile phone is your Ghana card. You go and present it, get a bank account; that’s all”
” . . the digital payments infrastructure is boosting e-commerce in Ghana. Businesses are booming over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and so on. Many people cannot afford to rent or build shops but they are able to do business on the internet at little cost with deliveries helped by the digital address and payment using mobile money interoperability,” he said.
On the acquisition of passports, the Vice President noted; ”Our approach to improving the delivery of public services is to minimize human contact as much as possible. Therefore, we embarked on an aggressive digitalization process of service delivery across many public institutions…we will look at the Passport Office. We digitalized the Passport Office and with digitization, the average turnaround time for the acquisition of passports has been significantly reduced and today, you can apply for your passport from home and it can be delivered at home with your digital address.”
”The digitalization of the passport application process has resulted in a significant increase in the number of passport applications that are processed annually and also a significant increase in the revenue for the passport…In 2017, when we started the digitalization process at the Passport Office, the total number of passport applications in 2017 was 16232 and they had a revenue of GHC 1.1 million in 2017. In 2021, after digitalization, the Passport Office online received 498963 applications (from 16000 to 498000) and the revenue the Passport Office made has increased from GHC 1.1 million to GHC 56.7 million,” he added.
He also underscored the benefits of digitization to the insurance sector, particularly with vehicle insurance postulating it is now easier for the Police and any person to check on their mobile phones whether or not their vehicles are insured.
Giving the USSD code *920*57#, he indicated ”when you dial it and enter the number of the vehicle, it will tell you whether the vehicle is insured or not. Therefore, our Police and the general public can easily check from their mobile phones whether they should actually join a particular vehicle or not”.
In the Sports sector, Dr. Bawumia praised the e-ticketing system he introduced for the recent World Cup qualifying match between Ghana and Nigeria, saying ”within the ticketing regime for football, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with the National Sports Authority and the GFA piloted an e-ticketing system for the recent World Cup qualifying match between Ghana and Nigeria at the Kumasi Sports Stadium. People who wanted to buy could do so on their mobile phone and there was no need to queue or waste time for tickets or to buy them from the black market”.
”I could watch from the dashboard, hour by hour, as the tickets were being sold and I knew immediately when the stadium was full…and guess what? It yielded the highest revenue of GHC 1.423 million; the highest revenue for any football match in the history of Ghana. It was amazing!”, he stressed.
He asserted that the e-ticketing is an efficient way of addressing inefficiency and corruption in this sector, adding the local teams have insisted on adopting this initiative.
Dr. Bawumia also stressed that ”today, your SSNIT number is your Ghana card number. Your NHIS number is your Ghana card…SSNIT and NHIA are no longer printing their own cards. The Ghana card is enough for them. They will not print and they are saving a lot of money. We are saving a lot of money and they still don’t understand the link between digitalization and the economy”, so ”the integration of databases is allowing us to sucessfully weed out ghost workers on payroll. A biometric audit of the National Service Scheme payroll alone, just National Service, when audited the payroll; we found 14027 ghost workers on the National Service and we have saved government GHC 112 million…just one audit, we’ve saved government GHC 112 million”.
Assessing the digitization impact on the economy, the Veep mocked the NDC stating ”they still don’t understand the link between digitalization and the economy”.