Government’s digitalization drive not transformative; now cynical

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Vice President of IMANI Africa, Bright Simons has punched holes into the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) much talked about digitalization agenda saying, initiatives rolled out under the drive are poorly thought through.

He simply described the government’s digital reforms as non-transformative, problematic and cynical.

Citing the Ghana card, SIM re-registration exercise, GPS addressing system, medical drone delivery, among others, Bright Simons said, given the incoherence and disintegration in the various policy initiatives, it has become crystal clear that government’s massive push for digitalization is rather to serve a commercial purpose and not for public good.

“There are some bright spots, but taken as a whole, it’s not transformative. In some respect, it’s actually quite problematic. There are instances where I fear because it’s so hyper-branded and the political stakes are so high.”

“I think the policy coherence is important and for these big initiatives that we are talking about, there are internal contradictions that fuel the cynicism. It’s almost as if they were genuinely doing this in good faith. There are a number of cases in this digital agenda that if the Vice President, his advisory team and government were duly committed to digital transformation, they wouldn’t do things that way in terms of objective and actual practice”, Bright Simons told Bernard Avle on the Point of View on Citi TV.

Spearheaded by the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Akufo-Addo government has introduced digital interventions such as mobile money interoperability, digital renewal of National Health Insurance, implementation of the digital address system, among others.

Many of these, according to the governing New Patriotic Party, have significantly improved the economic and social lives of Ghanaians.

But Bright Simons is having none of that, insisting that the Vice President’s quest for a digitized economy seems politically motivated.

“Unfortunately for the Vice President, we have a lot of evidence to question his commitment. But in questioning the commitment, we hope for a change in the policies. I was quite impressed until it became clear to me that Dr. Bawumia relied on this to appeal to a youthful audience to create a new narrative that will make him stand out among politicians and while that is not necessarily bad, I felt a bit betrayed. It was purely a political PR opposed to the genuine commitment to a policy of using digitization to transform Ghana”, Bright Simons noted.

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