Era of selling obsolete IT related products to state agencies over with birth of NITA – Owusu-Ekuful

Communications Minister; Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Communications Minister; Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has declared the era where ICT infrastructure and protocols were set up and run at the whim of contracted agents without oversight authority is over adding the instance of selling near obsolete machines to state agencies is equally over.

To that end, all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are to consult the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) before undertaking anything ICT related with the sector minister noting the move will also curtail duplication among agencies as well as wastage.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful made the submissions at the formal launch of the Judicial Service’s e-Justice Project at the auditorium of the Law Court Complex in Accra which also interfaces with the Digital Transcription Systems (DTS) for the digitization of courtroom proceedings and transcriptions.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful stressed: “All MDAs are advised to consult NITA before deploying ICT infrastructure and applications.”

The e-Justice Project was launched by President Akufo-Addo and it is part of the Government of Ghana’s e-Transform Programme that seeks to automate the existing manual filing systems within the Court’s Registry.

A development which made the minister to submit: “Indeed, as a lawyer myself, I am confident that the era of missing dockets, misplaced legal documents, poor record keeping and resource management are now things of the past, as the Judicial Service of Ghana has been assisted with an e-Justice System in 43 High Courts to improve on the effectiveness and efficiency of justice delivery in Ghana.”

NITA; an agency under the Communication Ministry ensures the provision of quality information communication technology and the promotion of standards of efficiency and quality service.

On performance of NITA, Madam Owusu-Ekuful held “the current outstanding debt owed by MMDAs to NITA amounts to GHc13 million. I have news for you: pay your debts, NITA will provide improved services to you for a fee and you must make provision for payment for it in your budgets, just as you provide for other utilities; for, guess what, data is as much a utility as water and electricity.”

She continued: “NITA will define the minimum IT standards all MDAs must comply with and set up the compliance mechanisms to ensure that you do. No agency will procure any IT software, equipment or service without reference to NITA and you will be required to seek its advice before you do so. We are working with the Ministry of Finance, Public Procurement Agency and the Auditor-General to ensure that these regulations will be enforced.”

By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com