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NITA has saved Ghana millions of dollars – Communications Minister

The National Information Technology Agency – NITA has managed to help ensure that 2 key ministries under the Akufo-Addo administration avoid procurement of the same systems and save the country from losing millions of dollars, that’s according to Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Mrs. Ursula Owusu- Ekuful.

According to her, the functions of NITA were equipped from time she assumed office, adding that, she called for the state regulator to sanitize the ICT environment, which had become decayed without an appropriate framework directing their standards and operations.

She made this known when she delivered keynote address at a three-day stakeholders’ meeting organised to discuss the draft content of Legislative Instruments (Lis) for NITA’s Act 2008 (Act 771) and Electronic Transaction Act, 2008 (Act 772) and to solicit inputs.

“When I assumed office in 2017, I directed the management of NITA to change course and assume its properly defined role as a regulator to sanitize the ICT landscape which had been orphaned with no proper regulatory regime guiding their operations and standards. The entire organization needed a root and branch overhaul in their functional philosophy and a reorientation of the staff to inculcate the attitudinal change required for the shift in focus from operations to regulation. I seconded a seasoned regulatory practitioner from the NCA to support the NITA transition and guide the process and sent selected NITA staff on a study tour of similar agencies in Rwanda and Nigeria to serve as benchmarks and use cases for the performance of their new role.”

She added, “Just by insisting on proper oversight for public sector ICT procurement, NITA has helped ensure that 2 key ministries avoided procurement of the same systems under 2 different donor funded projects and saved the exchequer millions of dollars. Procuring national licences for universally used software has also helped save government millions of dollars and cut duplication and waste. We have done so for Microsoft software and are working on a similar arrangement with Oracle.”

In addition, the lawmaker revealed that, 15 years into the passage of NITA Acts, the Agency does not have the LIs to function effectively which made it necessary to gain World Bank support to initiate the new drafting of key Legislative Instruments to give effect to both Act 771 and 772.

She indicated that, the stakeholder engagement will offer the opportunity for the ICT players to make their inputs into the draft LIs and later present the drafts to the Attorney-General to send to Parliament for necessary action.

“With the support of the World Bank e-Transform project, we procured the services of a consultant to facilitate the drafting of key Legislative Instruments to give effect to both Act 771 and 772, 15 years after those laws were passed, to facilitate the performance of NITA’s regulatory functions. I believe that these LI’s will empower NITA to perform the full functions envisaged by its enabling Acts. They will be introduced to you today and your input for their finalization sought.”

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