How digitalisation has made most impact in fight against corruption since Ghana’s independence

Ghana's battle against corruption, especially in the public sector, has been significantly boosted by the country's digitalisation drive, as available data shows that the ongoing digital transformation in the country has made the most significant impact in the corruption fight since independence, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has asserted.

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has been leading the digitization drive in this administration.

Addressing civil service workers in Accra recently, Dr Bawumia referenced how, through the Ghana card, for instance, the nation's premier pension funds managers, SSNIT have been able to rid their books of over 6000 Ghost names and saved the country a staggering 320 million cedis.

The SSNIT save is only the tip of the iceberg, as other available data have shown how digitisation is ruthlessly dealing with corruption and waste in the public sector, never seen before.

At the National Service Scheme, the implementation of a digitised system exposed ghost names of tens of thousands in just one region, saving the country millions of cedis every month in payments, which would have ended up in private pockets.

Indeed from the ports, throughout the paperless system, the digitisation of the passports, DVLA , NHIS services, and also the introduction of e-tickets, available data has proved how digitization has significantly reduced corruption-breeding human contacts in government services, and more importantly, reduced corruption and increasing revenue.

Both at the parts and DVLA, the dubious activities of illegal agents, popularly known as goro boys, have been curtailed, as the digitised system, or paperless payment system, ensures the goro boys can no longer operate as they used to.

Vice President Bawumia, who has spearheaded Ghana's digitalisation drive, has staunchly remained committed, and optimistic on the dual impact of digitisation on the National economy; fight against corruption and positive impact on revenue mobilization.

During one of his economic lectures in April this year, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia stressed the positive impact digitalisation is having on the efficiency of government service and revenue mobilization, with the Ghana card, the nation's biometric identification system as the catalyst.

GHANA CARD

"On coming into office, we moved quickly with the issuance of biometric national ID cards to the population to be the catalyst of our digitization drive" Dr. Bawumia explained at the lecture.

With over 16 million people having been enrolled on the Ghana card, which has created a robust national identity system to drive the national digitization drive, the impact has been telling, not only in the fight against corruption but on revenue mobilisation.

With the Ghanacard also being TIN numbers, what it means is that the number of Ghanacard issued so far, also represents the number of people with Tax Identity Number (TIN), which makes it easier for the Ghana Revenue Authority to monitor tax receipts without leakages.

Also, the improved, convenient and digital method of filing tax returns from the comfort of homes and offices, without the inconvenience of travelling, is also boosting revenue generation.

PASSPORT

Data shows how the digitisation of Ghana's passport application process has minimised human contact and resulted in a major increase in the number of passports processed annually as well as the revenue yield to the passport office.

In 2017, the passport office processed a total of 16,232 applications with revenue of GHC1.1m to the state. However, following the digitization of the passport office, in 2021, the office received and processed 498,963 online passport applications with total revenue of GHC56.7m.

MOBILE MONEY INTEROPERABILITY

With Ghana's enviable record as the only country in Africa with mobile money interoperability service, that is cross mobile network and interbank transfers, the impact has been big on both convenience and transactions.

Mobile Money interoperability has resulted in more transparency in financial transactions and less usage of cash.

At the end of 2016 for instance, the cumulative value of mobile money transactions in Ghana was GHC 78.5 billion. However, following the introduction of mobile money interoperability, the total cumulative value of mobile money transactions has now increased to almost 1 trillion cedis.

Mobile Money interoperability has resulted in more transparency in financial transactions and less usage of cash (total value of mobile money transactions has increased from GHC 78 billion to almost GHC 1 trillion!)

DVLA

Similarly, the digitalisation of the driver licensing service in 2019, resulted in an increase of over 100% in 2020.

MOTOR INSURANCE

The positive impact of digitization is also evident through the implementation of the motor insurance database, which shows that the insurance industry increased from 19% in 2019 to 37% in 2020 and 26% in 2021 respectively.

For the value of business undertaken and revenue to the state, it increased from GHC 566 million in 2017 to GHC2.3 billion in 2021.

e-FOOTBALL TICKET

The sports sector has also not been left out in both the fight against corruption, efficiency and revenue mobilisation through digitisation.

The introduction of e-ticketing for Stars matches, beginning with the World Cup play-off match with Nigeria earlier in the year, significantly boosted ticket sales for the same packed stadium in the past which recorded significantly lower gate proceeds for the same ticket value charged.

Ghana's digitisation drive has indeed proved that the fight against corruption is not about threats and orders, but about putting in place effective systems in place to minimise human contact, which will ultimately prevent corrupt acts, such as bribery, wattage, and stealing.

By: Agyei-Twum

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