The National Information Technology Agency (NITA) says Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) currently owe it GH?8 million for internet services provided.

NITA, therefore, has embarked on a massive education exercise to sensitise managements of the various MDAs on its operations and the need for them to pay their internet bills promptly to keep the Agency going.

The Agency as part of the sensitisation efforts held a breakfast meeting on Thursday in Accra for Chief Directors and Finance Directors of the various MDAs.

The breakfast session discussed how government could achieve its vision of transforming Ghana through Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Participants also discussed NITA as an implementing Agency of government ICT policy; NITA’S achievement, challenges and opportunities; interoperability and unified database systems across government agencies and the New NITA: restructuring NITA to provide better services to MDAs.

NITA is a public service institution established by Act 771 in 2008 as the ICT policy implementing arm of the Ministry of Communications and it is responsible for implementing Ghana’s Information Technology (IT) policies.

Its mandate includes identifying, promoting and developing innovative technologies, standards, guidelines and practices among government agencies and local governments.

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister, in her opening address said: “ICT is a critical component of today’s world economy, having permeated all sectors.”

“In Ghana, we believe that our capacity to compose in the global market greatly depends on the ability of our institutions and people to innovate and apply the relevant technology for growth and development,” she added.

She said government’s vision was to improve both the accuracy and speed of service delivery, provide fast, accurate and efficient service that were of good value for money, meet our aspirations and follow recognized best practices, and maximise the benefits of ICT for national development.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said it was government’s policy to transform the service delivery of all public agencies to enable them become more efficient and productive.

She explained that to ensure that technology was applied in government; NITA had been mandated to implement government ICT initiatives in line with Act 771and Electronic Transactions Act (Act 772).

“NITA plays a facilitating role in ensuring the effective usage of ICT across MDAs within the government,” she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said: “Public service delivery is challenged in so many ways, which conveys a wrong impression and poor image of the public service to the citizenry. This situation cannot continue.”

“Technology is an enabler of redefining success in our daily activities hence our deep involvement in using technology to re-engineer public service delivery.”

She said with the ongoing improvement of the connectivity infrastructure and technical expertise acquired, there would be a major improvement in the services provided by NITA.

The Minister said: “It is our common expectation that after completing all projects and initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry through NITA, it will go a long way to address all other shortcomings and help improve NITA’s service provision”.

“I call on government agencies yet to enrol on the NITA platform to get on board to contribute to the transformation of service delivery and governance in Ghana.”

Mr Joe Anokye, NITA Acting Director-General, urged MDAs to stop the notion that NITA was for government and therefore, there was no need for them to pay for the internet services the Agency was providing them.

He said NITA had to buy the internet data from the international market before supplying it to the MDAs and therefore, they should pay their bills promptly to ensure its continued operations.

Mr Anokye called on all MDAs, who were having any challenge with the use of their internet services to immediately draw the Agency’s attention to it.

He announced that the Agency would in July holds a similar meeting for heads of IT departments of MDAs.

Mr Kwaku Kyei Ofori, Deputy Acting Director-General, NITA, said the New NITA was committed to providing world class service to enhance Ghana’s productivity.

Mrs Veronica Boateng, Director of Applications, NITA said the Act which established NITA mandates it to provide leadership roles and directions in ICT.