By Cecil Mensah
As part of the measures to bring electronic business to the doorsteps of the citizenry through Information Communication Technology (ITC), the Ministry of Communications has constructed 21 Enhanced Community Information Centre (eCICs) to make the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) improve service delivery across the country.
Government online services (eservices.org.gh, rgd.org.gh) such as accessing passport forms, registration of businesses with the Registrar General’s Department, renewal of Driver’s License among others can also be acquired with ease because of the massive deployment of ICT infrastructure across the country.
Mr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister for Communications, made this known at the inauguration and official handing over of the Enhanced Community Information Centre (eCIC) at Bodi in the Western Region.
According to him, the centre at Bodi is the tenth in the series of eCICs that has been inaugurated this year.
He said additionally, a partnership agreement has been reached between the Government of Ghana and the Republic of Mauritius for the latter to invest over US$200 million in the ICT Park at the Tema Free Zone Enclave which when commenced and completed will create several thousands of jobs for the youth.
It against this backdrop that, the government altogether have constructed 21 centres in Bodi, Effiduase, Amanfrom, Pantang, Anum, Kpetoe, Glefe, Keta, Battor, , Twifo-Praso, Asante Bekwai, Techiman Krobo, Sagnarigu, Gambaga, Pusiga, Nandom, Lassie Tuolu, Welembele, Ofoase, Drobonso and Talensi.
He revealed that there are 11 more to be inaugurated by December this year.
He said the successful completion of the facility was as a result of effective collaboration between the Ministry, the Member of Parliament for the area, Mr Sampson Ahi and the Sefwi- Boadi District Assembly.
He said the vision of the Ministry is driven by the four pillars of the Government’s development agenda outlined by President John Dramani Mahama in his State of the Nation Address which focuses on Putting the People First, Strong Economy and job creation, Expanding Infrastructure for growth and last but not least Transparent and Accountable Governance.
‘Beyond the completion of the 21 eCICs within one year, the Ministry of Communications has also deployed a fourth Generation (4G) Networks across the country to enhance effective communications among MDAs and improve their operations and services to general public.
The National Data Centre is also being constructed to provide one single shared computing and storage platform for all MDAs and the private sector’ he revealed.
As you may be aware, the President has commissioned the Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic Backbone Project which will serve 120 communities and create jobs for the youth along that corridor, He added.
He mentioned the beneficiary towns as Ho, Kpando, Jasikan, Nkwanta, Gushegu, Yendi, Bimbila, Nakpanduri and Bawku.
He noted the facility will compliment the infrastructure needs of ICT and Telecom service providers to offer Value Added Services and better coverage for the citizens in these communities.
‘The Government has commenced the process to migrate Ghana from analogue to an energy efficient Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting in line with International standards.
The completion of the digital broadcasting migration process will lead to improved channel choice, crystal clear pictures and quality sound for consumers’, He maintained.
According to him, the project is expected to be completed by March 2016.
He said once the project is completed all who use analogue TVs would have to secure Set-Top-Boxes (STB) which has been approved by the NCA to be able to receive all the digital signals.
He added the government is also constructing an US$8million Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Centre near the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange.
He said the BPO Centre has the potential to create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for the youth of Ghana.
He reminded the Chiefs and people gathered at the ceremony that through this eCIC in Bodi learning and doing business will become easy.
He was hopeful the second phase of the Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) adoption and adaptation programme which seeks to diffuse IT Enabled services to the districts will be successful not only because it will create jobs for the youth in the districts but also because the requisite human resource will be available to ensure smooth take-off.
He assured its advantages will also help in minimising the rural urban migration canker that has plagued the country.
He explained that the funding for the execution of this project is from a value for money audit conducted on the eGovernment Platform project being funded by a loan from the China EXIM Bank.
The project contractor is Huawei Technologies Limited also took into consideration local content and the savings made has been judiciously applied.
He commended the Huawei Technologies for the timely delivery of the work packages under the project.
He indicated that the eCICs facility is a complete solution in its entirety because it has all the IT equipment namely a switch rack, router, server, computers, UPS, photocopier machine, printer, television, air conditioners, tables and chairs.
He said the facility has been sited here to enable students and school pupils within this community to register for and access their examination results.
‘Our farmers and traders can also take the opportunity to market their farm produce and goods and also obtain a first-hand information regarding issues happening in other parts of the world’.
He urged the mangers of the facility to use it to train software developers, programmers and hardware Engineers among others but certainly not cyber fraudsters.
He warned that the Ministry has put a number of mechanisms in place to address issues such as cyber crime, cyber security and abuse of children online.
‘We have set up the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) which responds promptly and appropriately to suspected and or reported cases of cyber incidents.
He pleaded with the managers of this facility to monitor how it is used, to ensure that its full potential is derived for the benefit of the Sefwi Bodi community and its environs.