Ghana acknowledged the crucial role that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play in improving the efficiency of delivery of government services and bringing government closer to the people. This necessitated the development of an Information and Communication Technology for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) policy in 2003. Ghana’s e-government agenda took its premise and support from the ICT4AD policy document.
In 2006, Ghana made another step ahead in its e-Government strategy by launching eGhana. The goal of the eGhana project was to enhance the growth of the ICT sector, support local ICT businesses and promote the development of e-Government applications and government communications.
In order for smooth interfacing and operation of various ICT systems deployed amongst MDAs, Ghana developed e-Government Interoperability Framework to serve as standards and policies that would guide the selection of ICT systems.
THE ENABLING ENVIRONMENT
E-Government Network Infrastructure
In November 2008, a nationwide e-Government network infrastructure construction began in Ghana. This was intended to extend the national backbone infrastructure to all districts in the country and provide a national data centers.
Data Center and Server Infrastructure
Data Centre was established to serves as a centralized repository for the storage, management and dissemination of government data and provides a common platform for MDAs, MMDAs and other government organizations. The Data Centre facility is a crucial feature of the e-government communication infrastructure network. The entire government network serves the e-Government applications from this facility, and all the critical equipment and applications is housed in the data center as well. According to the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), two additional data centers have been deployed to provide for redundancy and disaster recovery.
KEY E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN GHANA
- Government Online Services Portal (eservices.gov.gh)
This is an online service portal which provides a one-stop window for services and information being offered by the various MDAs, MMDAs and all other Government Agencies. It is made up of four sub-portals, namely, “Citizens”, “Non-Citizens”, “Businesses” and “Governments”.
Available on the portal are the services rendered by these agencies:
Registrar General’s Department (RGD); Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) (IRS, VATs, RAGB, LTU); Driver’s and Vehicle License Authority (DVLA); Passport Office (MFA-PO); National Information Technology Agency (NITA); National Identification Authority (NIA); Mineral’s Commission (MINCOM); Births and Deaths Registry (BDR); Ghana Police Service – CID (GPS-CID); Food and Drugs Board (FDB); Ghana Tourist Authority (GTA); National Communications Authority (NCA) and Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
This Portal has made it easier for: clients of the Passport Office to submit personal details for application of their passports online; for individuals and businesses to register their businesses, file returns and pay taxes online, food product importers to register online with the FDB; Births and Deaths Registry to also administer and respond to birth certified copy requests from the public; with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, registration of marriage and acquisition of marriage license is possible; the Ghana Tourist Authority to register accommodation and catering establishment, the DVLA component introduces online drivers’ license renewal application and vehicle ownership transfer services; The Criminal Investigation Department of Ghana Police Service to do nominal vetting application (for non-residents) and criminal check application (finger print vetting for local citizens including appointments) and last but not the least, users of Minerals Commission’s services to also apply for prospecting/ reconnaissance license and for a land Cartographic search.
In addition, all relevant forms required to be completed by clients in order to receive any services from the MDAs can be downloaded online and applicants can print the forms on their own and complete them without travelling to Agencies’ offices for copies of the forms.
- E-Payment Services (epay.gov.gh)
The Ghana E-Payment Portal (GEPP) is an online platform for the payment of Government of Ghana (GoG) services by Citizens and all other individuals and/or corporate entities conducting business with GoG.
The payment platform is designed to accept various type of payment methods, such as Debit/Credit Cards (international) – VISA, Debit/Credit Cards, Cheques, Cash & Vouchers, Mobile Money Payments, Bank Transfer, PayPal etc.
- Government E-Workspace
The e-Workspace solution is a web-based application for a collaborative working environment. This system is a suite of solutions comprising Correspondence Management System (which allows for preparation, processing, receipting and management of e-letters, e-dispatch, e-Minute on letters, e-Signing, e-Storage of documents, e-archiving and e-disposal of letters), Portal Content Management System, Document Management System (supports sharing of documents) and Meeting Management Systems.
The solution also comprises a Unified Communications Tools, a flexible messaging platform for managing mailing and business communications including instant messaging, calendar scheduling, voice mail, free calls through voice over IP, video and web conferencing over network infrastructure.
- Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS)
GIFMIS involves the use of a number of integrated electronic financial modules in the management of public funds. The system covers three major areas; Financial Management and Controls, Budget and Human Resource Management Information System.
These are few of the many e-government services provided by the Government of Ghana that citizens, business, agencies and other nationals can take advantage of.
Seth Frimpong-Manso – Head of IT, Progress Savings and Loans (Member: Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)
For comments, contact author email@example.com