The Vice President with top government officials at the launch
GOVERNMENT HAS created a digital services and revenue collection platform for the public sector to provide a single point of access to Government of Ghana services.
It follows the successful launch yesterday, of the Ghana.GOV platform, which can be accessed on www.ghana.gov.gh or by dialing the shortcode *222# on any mobile phone (whether a smartphone or a feature phone / ‘yam’).
Speaking during the launch at the Jubilee House (presidency), Vice President Bawumia said the “Ghana.Gov is a one-stop shop to enable citizens easily access government services, simplify payments for public services, ensure prompt payments for the services and promote transparency and visibility of internally generated funds.”
People who patronise public services and hand over cash over to administrative staff, he noted, “will switch to a mobile payment system” as “transactions will be recorded instantly, avoiding any bribery and corruption regarding the quoted service fee, and curtailing the risk of embezzlement.”
That, he said, was because “according to the 2017 Auditor General’s report, inefficiencies in government’s revenue collection resulted in losses of over GH¢2 billion.”
With about 254 MMDAs and some 127 public organisations operating more than 2,000 physical points of services, with mostly manual processes, Dr. Bawumia insisted revenue collection is bound to have challenges.
In view of the fact that the Ghana.GOV platform consists of four main components including a web portal, mobile app and USSD interface, payment processing component, a notification component and a complaint submission medium, the Vice President stressed that a single payments platform will have three main benefits for the economy and help achieve the long-term goal of a Ghana Beyond Aid, and help grow government revenue.
That is because it is estimated that about 10% to 15% of government collections are lost through inefficiencies, theft and other accounting malpractices.
“Going digital means that we can improve our revenue collections by an estimated GH¢3 billion annually,” Dr. Bawumia said.
Apart from that, he was convinced that “the sheer convenience of enabling all of us to pay for government services with our mobile money, our bank cards, our new GHQR code, our fintech apps on our phones or at any bank branch, will go a long way in helping increase revenues for government.”
“The hassle of going through long queues and hopping from office to office just to make a payment for a government service will simply become a thing of the past,” he reiterated.
It is expected that Ghana will derive expense savings of some GH¢40 million a year as a result of this platform, which the Vice President said was a conservative number because a 2017 payment industry report indicated that Ghana could save over GH¢250 million a year by becoming more of a cash-lite economy.
Ghana.GOV is also expected to redefine how people engage with government beyond the financial benefits of the platform, to also transform how they all connect to government since there is currently no official Government of Ghana mobile application for the over 9 million smartphone users and the more than 30 million mobile phone users in Ghana.
It is also expected to help boost Ghana’s international profile rankings.
“The days where you have to make several phone calls or look for a middleman just to get information and help on a government service is coming to an end,” the Vice President assured.
So far, some government agencies including the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Passport Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Lands Commission, National Service Secretariat, Food and Drugs Administration, National Information Technology Authority, Registrar General’s Department, and the National Schools Inspectorate Authority have all been onboarded onto the Ghana.GOV portal.
The team is in the process of onboarding Public Procurement Authority, Data Protection Commission, National Petroleum Authority, Minerals Commission, CODVET, and Ghana Post.
Dr. Bawumia therefore stressed the need for the launch to serve as the catalyst to speed up the onboarding of all the remaining MMDAs, saying, “I ask that we make a good effort to onboard all MMDAs by the end of the year.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu