Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) owe the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) GHc18 million for internet and data services, since 2014.
The Director General of NITA, George Atta-Boateng, who disclosed this at a business forum, organised by NITA, in Accra, said the money was owed by 504 MDAs across the country.
He said the failure of the MDAs to pay for the services rendered to them was affecting the operations of NITA.
NITA is a statutory body created in 2008 as part of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development Policy, initiated by government to use ICT as a catalyst for development, to render internet and data services for the MDAs at a fee.
NITA, which is mandated to regulate the ICT industry in Ghana, offers fourth generation (4G) internet services, the latest mobile technology in the telecommunication industry, to the MDAs.
Mr Atta-Boateng said his outfit could deliver unparallel internet and data services to the MDAs, such as web hosting, if they had paid promptly for their services.
He said it was very expensive to maintain the fiber optic and Long Term Evolution (LTE) network infrastructure to ensure reliable internet and data services, due to frequent fibre cuts as a result of construction works and erratic power supply.
However, the Director General said, NITA does not charge commercial rate for its services because it does not operate for profit, adding that while “NITA sells 5 mega byte of data for GHc800, the same amount of data is being sold on the telecommunication market for GHc4, 000.”
Mr Atta-Boateng disclosed that NITA was introducing a new billing system to ensure a monthly billing of the MDAs.
“We have devised a strategy to collect all the debts owed NITA, and some of the MDAs are responding,” he said, and warned that MDAs who would fail to pay, NITA would have their services terminated.
The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, in a speech read on his behalf by Mrs Patricia Dovi Sampson, the Director of Research, Statistics and Information Management, lauded NITA for the forum.
“This business meeting with all of you today is a good initiative. This is because, it offers the opportunity to critique what we do and suggest ways to improve it for the betterment of efficient and effective public service delivery,” he said.
Dr Boamah said NITA had supervised the construction of a nationwide 4G LTE network that spans across 125 districts and metropolitans
He said the Eastern Corridor fibre optic project spanning across 120 districts and communities had also been completed and operationalised.
The Minister entreated the MDAs to pay for the internet services rendered to them by NITA to ensure sustainability of the service.
He also encouraged NITA to ensure that its services met the standards of the market, to enable the MDAs have value-for-money.
By Kingsley Asare