Plans by the Government to digitally record all state properties and citizen’s data in a centralised national database have been kickstarted.
At a meeting with key stakeholders including the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, on Monday February 6, 2017, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced the formation of two committees; a legal committee and technical committee, to undertake the necessary legal, logistical and financial consultation, and design a roadmap for implementation.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, is expected to make provision for the two systems in his maiden budget to be presented to Parliament next month.
He gave the committees two weeks to submit their reports, with the financial implications to be factored into the 2017 budget. Municipal Metropolitan and District Assemblies and other state agencies such as Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Water Company, Lands Commission and Ghana Post all have different ways of identifying properties, hinged on different technologies.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government led by President Akufo-Addo has expressed its commitment to the implementation of a digital addressing system and to harmonise all such systems into a single data resource to aid national planning and economic development.
Speaking at the meeting of stakeholders on the subject, Dr Bawumia emphasised that in addition to the unique identification for individuals, Ghana needs unique identification for properties, using the appropriate technology, to speed up efforts to formalise the economy.
“The technology exists. We need to leverage on them to leapfrog to the next generation of property addressing. This goal has to be achieved this year, in tandem with the National Identification System. “It is clear where we’re headed. We’re going digital addressing. We can take advantage of existing systems and integrate into them,” he said. “We need to formalise our economy, and this [digital property addressing system] will be a major legacy that we will leave for generations to come,” he added.
Participants at the meeting agreed that the digital property addressing system would have to be anchored on a comprehensive mapping of the entire country, an exercise which has been hampered by lack of funds over the past few years. The last time Ghana was comprehensively mapped was in 1974, according to officials of the Lands Commission, even though such mapping is supposed to be undertaken every five years.
The Land Administration Project (LAP), which began in 2003, has been able to map only 10% of Ghana’s landmass.
Representatives of the Ghana Police Service, Electricity Company of Ghana, Lands Commission, Administrator of Stools, Postal Courier Service Regulatory, Tema Development Corporation, Survey and Mapping Division, Land Valuation Division, and Land Administration Project were present at the meeting. Also present were representatives of the Forestry Commission, National Information Technology Agency (NITA), and Ghana Post Company.
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