Ursula Owusu-Ekuful with officials of GIFEC and the Sekyere Central District Assembly
More than 27,000 computers that were distributed to government’s ICT centres across the country under previous Mahama administration cannot be traced, Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has disclosed.
Even though documents at the office of the Ghana Investment for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) indicate the computers were distributed within the last eight years, I have not seen any of them at the ICT centres, she indicated.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful made the revelation on Tuesday when she led officials of GIFEC and the Sekyere Central District Assembly to inspect the Kwamang Community Information Centre on the last day of her tour of the Ashanti Region.
Although 20 computers were said to have been distributed to the Community Information Centre three years ago, she discovered an empty building.
The Communications Minister found no computers at the abandoned centre intended to provide community development information and business services.
While the minister could not fathom how the computers vanished into thin air, the local authorities could not confirm whether they were indeed delivered to the centre.
But the Minister, who debunked claims that the computers had been stolen, said the Ministry would no longer distribute computers through the district assemblies.
The Minister said the computers would be delivered to the schools and centres by officials of Communications Ministry so as to track them.
“Government cannot continue to throw away money, and therefore we have to ensure that they are delivered and installed for the intended use,” she assured.
At Namong in the Offinso Municipality of the Ashanti Region, the Minister expressed similar sentiments after she discovered another abandoned Community Information Centre at the Nomang Senior High School premises.
The building, which has been left to deteriorate, was being used by the IT officer as accommodation until last Friday.
The ICT resourced centre, which was funded by the UNDP and the Ministry of Communications, according to the Minister, was fully equipped with air-conditioners, computers and servers in 2006.
“It is a shame the way we treat government property. And a lot of money went into building and equipping this facility so that our children can also benefit from it by acquiring IT skills to enable them survive in this digital era.”
“Now look! It is totally and completely run down. None of the computer works. Some of the equipment have been stolen – projectors all gone; computers have become e-waste.
She blamed the previous Mahama administration for the deterioration of the ICT centres.
The Minister said the various district assemblies have a responsibility to maintain such facilities put up by the Communications Ministry.
“We will find the money to renovate and look for officials to come and man it. Our children need it. They will be used as E-service centres for anyone looking for government information,” she added.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kwamang