Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has tasked the newly inaugurated Board of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) to fast-track processes to complete implementation of the public sector Smart Workplace Programme.
The programme which is being rolled out in all public institutions including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs), is to enable public sector workers to work remotely and virtually to enhance efficiency.
So far, about 300 government agencies including the Ghana Health Service have been connected to the solution since it was piloted in 2018.
It is being implemented by Government through the Ministry and its implementing agency, NITA.
Speaking at the swearing-in of the new Governing Board of the Agency in Accra, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful urged them to focus on completing the programme to ensure efficiency in the public sector.
The Board is chaired by Mr Kwabena Addo-Atuah and has Mr Richard Edmund Okyere-Fosu, Director-General, NITA; Mr Gerard Nana Kwakwa Osei-Tutu from National Security Council, and Mr Issah Yahaya, Expert in ICT issues, as members.
Others are Mrs Matilda Acheampong Wilson, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako and Madam Sheila Minkah-Premo, President’s nominees; Madam Ama Pomaa Boateng, the Ministry’s nominee, while Industry is yet to nominate a member.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful reiterated Government’s government towards the digitalization of the economy.
She said: “To sustain the Digital Transformation Agenda of Government, we must ensure that Agencies that regulate the ICT space do their job effectively.
The National Information Technology Agency (NITA), the Electronic Transactions Regulator of Ghana, is therefore very critical in this respect.
“Members of the Board have therefore been carefully selected with this new direction in mind. The Board is expected to provide the necessary strategic direction for the Agency to fully consolidate its role by putting in the right structures, effectively regulating the ICT space, and ultimately contribute to the Digital Transformation Agenda.”
The NITA was established by the NITA Act, (Act 771) in 2008 and supported by the Electronic Transactions Act (772) as the ICT policy implementing arm of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation.
It is the implementing agency for the ETA and regulates all electronic transactions under the law, as well as responsible for implementing Ghana’s IT policies.
Its mandate includes identifying, promoting, and developing innovative technologies, standards, guidelines and practices among government agencies and local governments and the private sector.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful urged NITA to ensure efficient performance of its regulatory functions as envisaged by Acts 771 and 772.
She explained that the rapid utilisation of digital technology which had been escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic, proliferation of virtual and online applications and services in both the public and private sectors, required effective regulation to ensure that the protection of rights, systems, data and minimum standards of technology and proficiency were adhered to across the country.
Other recommendations to the Board were to ensure the finalization of the development and implementation of LIs for the NITA Act and ETA, develop minimum standards for public sector IT systems and services, address issues of funding for the Agency, upgrade National Data Center with additional storage capacity and Government cloud infrastructure as the primary data storage or DR site for all MMDAs.
Mr Okyere-Fosu, who spoke on behalf of the Board Chair, assured the Minister of the Board’s readiness to initiate policies and programmes, as well as her recommendations to ensure the development of the Agency.