Story by: Political Desk
The Akufo-Addo government’s infusion of digitalization in the provision of government services as part of the fight against corruption is beginning to yield major results, with even more interventions planned to fight it even harder, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has stated.
The Vice President, who was speaking at the 2022 edition of the Annual Conference of the Institute of Internal Auditors (Ghana) in Accra on Thursday 5th May, 2022 emphasized that Government is “very, very committed” to the fight against corruption, and will continue to infuse digitalization into the operations of state institutions to ensure more transparency.
“Building strong institutions means putting in place the right systems and practices that ensure transparency and brings about efficiency. With this, although corruption may remain a chronic disease, transparency will be its vaccine to reduce the rate of spread”.
“As the saying goes, our biggest disease is corruption and the vaccine is transparency. Corrupt people hate transparency,” he indicated.
Dr Bawumia explained that in its quest to deal ruthlessly with the menace of bribery and corruption, Government has since 2017 ensured the deployment of technology and digitalization with the twin aim of ensuring easier, affordable access, and as an anti-corruption strategy.
“I would like to draw your attention to where we are as a country in our digitalisation process. We have made tremendous progress in building the digital infrastructure that serves as the bedrock for our digitalised economy as part of the paradigm shift in our economic transformation.
“We approached the building of this digital infrastructure on the key pillars of standardising individual identification using the Ghana Card; solving the address and property systems using GhanaPostGPS; solving under-banking and bringing financial inclusion to most people through a robust mobile money and bank interoperability and digital payment platform; and integration of Government Databases and digitising public service delivery using the Ghana.gov platform.”
Citing the massive improvements in the revenues and performance of Government institutions which have embraced digitization, Dr Bawumia said “even more transparency” is going to be infused in order to “shine a light into the dark recesses of corruption.”
“Already, we are seeing the impacts of these initiatives including efficient public service delivery by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the Ghana.gov portal, combatting corruption by removing the middle-man and “ghost names” in many transactions, bringing more Ghanaians into the formal sector, and driving domestic revenue mobilization, among others.
“If you take the Passport Office for instance, in 2017 there were about 16,000 applications for passports generating about Ghs1m. But with the advent of digitization, there were over 498,000 online applications in 2021, generating over Ghs56m. Similar things are happening at the DVLA, the ports, and other institutions.
“Recently, due to the introduction of e-tickets, we recorded the highest gate proceeds from a football match in Ghana. We will continue to shine the light of transparency in all aspects of national life.”
The Vice President charged Internal Auditors to play their part in the fight against corruption, given their key role in the governance structure in institutions both public and private.
“As internal auditors in a digitalised economy, your ability to provide independent assurance that public sector institutions’ risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively depends first and foremost on your embracing and adoption of digital technology. It is critical for those responsible for governance to embrace digitalisation for survival and growth.
“In tune with the mission of the Institute of Internal Auditors, the internal audit function must be well-positioned to help organisations accomplish their objectives by providing insight and foresight. This, must be achieved by adopting the systematic disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance.”
The President of the Institute of Internal Auditors, Mrs Harriet Karikari, urged institutions to invest in the continued training of their internal audit staff to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in anticipating, identifying and providing remedies for any challenges.