IN an effort to promote e-governance in Ghana, the government in 2008, began an e-Ghana project to implement the nation’s information technology (IT) policies.
In furtherance of this objective, the government by Act 771, established the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), to among others, lead and regulate as well as ensure the provision of quality information communications technology, promote standards of efficiency and ensure high quality of service.
NITA basically is mandated to champion the e-government which is an essential component of the e-Ghana project, by contributing to improved efficiency, transparency and accountability in selected government functions.
The agency as part of its functions provides IT solutions to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to improve efficiency and productivity.
Unfortunately, almost all the MDAs including district assemblies, security agencies, Accountant General’s Department as well as many others are reported to be indebted to NITA.
According to the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the agency is unable to provide services as mandated due to non-payment by MDAs amounting to GH¢13million.
She said NITA was “financially, crippled and was no more in a position to continue providing the service it was mandated to do.
“It is a worrying situation for NITA and this threatens its mandate to provide IT solutions to the public sector. At this point, NITA cannot shoulder the burden any longer. We need the agency to help us just as we help them to improve efficiency in the delivery of services” she pointed out.
It is very unfortunate that NITA finds itself in this position at the time that the country is moving towards the use of information and communications technology in our everyday life.
The Ghanaian Times is concerned that while other countries are making headway in the use of technology, the major provider of IT solutions to the country’s public sector should be brought on its knees through non-payment for the services rendered them.
We think that it is not in the interest of the country to allow such an institution to be crippled by debt owed it by the MDAs.
We are, therefore, in full support of the suggestions made by the Communications Minister that the Ministry of Finance makes upfront payments on behalf of the MDAs for use of internet data and IT related services.
The suggestion, if accepted would no doubt enable NITA to receive payments for services rendered and enable it carry out its mandate.
We must not allow NITA to continue to suffer from non-payment for services rendered to MDAs. It is a very important state agency that must be saved and protected.