The policies government is implementing are designed to bring transparency in areas that breed corruption while aggressively accelerating national development, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated.
Speaking at the 59th Annual Session of the Ghana Baptist Convention at Ejura in the Ashanti Region on Tuesday, Dr Bawumia bemoaned the debilitating effects of corruption on national development and affirmed the government’s commitment to its fight.
Dr Bawumia said corruption inhibited economic growth and affected business operations, employment and investments.
He said corruption also reduced tax revenue and the effectiveness of various government financial assistance programmes, adding: “the wider society is influenced by a high degree of corruption, the lower the trust in rule of law, governance, consequently the quality of life.”
Dr Bawumia said corruption thrived in darkness so much that when and where there is darkness so much is hidden; “you cannot tell who is who.”
People who collect revenue for the government, according to the Vice President, steal from monies paid to them, adding: “people do not file their taxes, register minors to vote and there is general indiscipline among the people because there is no transparency which enables corruption to thrive.”
Dr Bawumia said as a result of the endemic corrupt tendency among Ghanaians, the government decided to embrace digitalization and infuse technology into the national fibre, which he said had been remarkable so far.
“This government is building a system that will enhance transparency, promote accountability, discipline, trustworthiness and enable inclusiveness.
“It’s not based on who you know and interpersonal relationships, thus promoting efficient public sector management, public services delivery and eliminating the incentives for bribery and corruption.
“You fight corruption with systems, you do not fight corruption with rhetoric; and so, in this regard, we have been trying to put systems in place; we’re trying to identify everybody uniquely and that is why we’re issuing the GhanaCard. Every property has a digital address. Today there is no need to pay a bribe for your passport. No ‘goro’ boys are involved in passport acquisition; you go online you pay for it, and it can even be delivered to your house.
“Driver’s license is also very simple, it’s one of the most advanced systems that we have implemented in the world and therefore you don’t need any ‘goro’ boy to get a driver’s license.
“Through your mobile phone you can renew your NHIS membership card; you don’t need to pay anybody a bribe. You can top up your electricity on your mobile phone. The same goes with the digitized Registrar General’s office for the fast acquisition of one’s documents.
“Today, you cannot obtain fake Motor insurance certificates anymore. If I look at a driver’s license plate I can dial *920*57# and I will know whether that car is insured or not.”
While touting the successes chalked so far, Vice President Bawumia pointed out that the fight against corruption could only be won if Ghanaians contributed their quota and called on all, including the Church, to partner with the government in the fight.
“These are some specifics we can point to in our fight against corruption. But clearly, we have not finished the fight, and even though we have made progress, we still have more to do. To achieve this, we need to accelerate national development, and concerted efforts on the part of everyone would be required to build this nation.
“Through digitalization, we are putting in place the systems for a disciplined, less corrupt, transparent, efficient, trustworthy and tax complying society. Let us all join this very important, national fight.”
The outgoing Executive President of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who also doubles as the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, commended the government for introducing measures, including the ongoing widespread adoption of digitization in daily life, to make life easier for the ordinary Ghanaian.
In a related development, the Chief of Ejura, Barima Ozsei Hwedie II, on behalf of his chiefs and elders, donated 100 acres of land to the Ghana Baptist Convention for the establishment of the Ejura campus of the Ghana Baptist University.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD