The government is leveraging digitalisation to shape national discourse on the promotion of behavioural change and moral principles, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has stated.
Outlining the positive effects achieved by the ongoing inclusion of digitalisation in daily national life, Dr Bawumia said the government has taken a deliberate decision to reduce the human interface, which is usually the arena for corruption, to reduce its incidence and cultivate a new approach to national life.
Vice President Bawumia lauded the virtues of digitalisation in the fight against corruption and moral decadence when he addressed guests at the National Development Conference 2023, organised by the Church of Pentecost, on Wednesday in Accra.
The Conference held under the theme ‘Moral Vision and National Development’ was attended by all major stakeholders in Ghana’s development including Former Presidents J.A. Kufuor and John Mahama; Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Alban S.K. Bagbin; the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Gertrude Torkonoo, National Executives of political parties, leaders of religious bodies, civil society organisations and governance experts.
“The behaviour of the people determines the transformation of a nation. This is why, as a government, we have focused on putting in place systems that will reduce the role of the human factor and enhance transparency through the digitalisation of the economy. We have put in place systems that will encourage or compel morally upright behaviour.”
“Through digitalisation, we are compelling behaviour that is morally upright”, he continued, noting that by reducing the human interface, state institutions and their clients have no choice but to do the right things and pay the right fees because computers don’t understand bribes.
Dr Bawumia cited the major impacts digitalisation has had on efficiency and revenue generation in some key government institutions.
“The DVLA is now a world-class institution, without the need for ‘goroboys’. Now you can apply for a passport online and have it delivered to your house without having to pay a bribe. The port is now paperless and clearing your goods has become much easier.
“Digitalisation has also had a major impact on revenue generation. Take the Electricity Company of Ghana for instance. Before digitalisation, the company was collecting an average of Ghs450 million a month.
“We noticed that for some years, this figure had not changed, despite an increase in customers. Something was not right.
“So we introduced digitalisation into their processes and made all payments cashless. Despite initial resistance, the system is working smoothly. And interestingly, the monthly revenue has shot up from Ghs450 million a month to Ghs1.2 billion a month,” he disclosed.
“Before digitalisation, the Passport Office was generating an average of Ghs 1 million a year. After we digitalised the process, including making payments cashless, the Office now generates over Ghs60 million a year.
“It is therefore evident that with the infusion of digitalisation, we are creating an environment, a system where corruption cannot thrive due to the reduction and elimination of the human interface”, he noted.
Dr Bawumia emphasised the government’s determination to bring relief to Ghanaians and return the economy to high rates of growth that characterised the management of our economy in the three years preceding the COVID outbreak in 2020.
“Among others, we will continue with our programmes for the expansion and modernisation of our educational system to create a 21st-century workforce; the systematic reform of our healthcare delivery system to ensure a resilient, robust healthcare delivery system; the conclusion of the digitalisation process to obtain the full benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution.”
Alluding to the theme for the Conference, Vice President Bawumia pledged that the government would work assiduously for the “establishment of a free and just society, where entrepreneurship and individual initiative are the sources of wealth creation with a strong social safety net for the marginalised and disadvantaged; and the improvement of the governance architecture to deepen accountability and respect for the rule of law in our body politic.”
While praising the religious community for their strong collaboration with the government for national development, DrBawumia singled out the Church of Pentecost for high praise.
“If there is one Church which has, over the years, and, particularly, in recent times, risen to its duties of being a steadfast partner with Government in the development of the nation, I dare say it is the Church of Pentecost.
“Indeed the contribution of the Church of Pentecost to education, healthcare, social welfare and the financial development of Ghana continues to merit the unalloyed gratitude of the Ghanaian people,” he emphasised.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD