By Frank Amponsah
The Vice President Dr. Mahamaudu Bawumia has taken his time to educate former President John Dramani Mahama, who has behaved like a novice in the political scene, on the National Digital Property Address System (NDPAS), which he (Mahama) described as a ‘419 scam.’
The Vice President indicated that it was evident from Mahama’s utterances that he has no clue about what he was talking about and was just engaged in “parroting propaganda.”
He however advised the former President not to rely so much on propaganda since it hasn’t help him when he was in government and it is certainly not going to help him in opposition.
He said he welcomes constructive criticism but he who criticizes must take time to make sure he knows what he is talking about otherwise “you would be sadly exposed as being ignorant of simple facts as in this case.”
It could be recalled that former President Mahama during the NDC’s unity walk in Cape Coast described Ghana’s NDPAS as a 419 scam.
His comments however came to the Vice President as a big surprise considering the experience former President has gained over the years in governance and implementation of policies and programs.
The Vice President was however disappointed in the former President for making his ignorance of certain basic facts known to the whole world.
He said: “When I read his reasoning for such a description, I actually had a good laugh. Let me therefore take this opportunity to educate him and others who may think like him about Ghana’s landmark digital property addressing which has been achieved in less than one year, something his government could not do in eight years!”
According to the Vice President Ghana is undertaking a project to implement a NDPAS at a cost of GH¢9.9m or $2.3 million (VAT inclusive) and that this amount is the total cost of the project, not just the app as claimed by John Mahama.
He explained that the cost includes the cost of the public awareness campaign to aid in the public education and awareness creation for the National Digital address system over the next 12 months, infrastructure Set Up Cost, third party licensing fees, cost of physically embossing 4,000 government and other public buildings and the cost of training for all staff of Ghanapost as well as other stakeholders such as NCCE across the nation among others.
He could not comprehend why some people including former President John Mahama could think that such a project could have come for free.
He said, other companies bid as high as GHS170million for this project.
“In fact, one of the most credible international companies that participated put in a bid for over GHS38million. The NDPAS is therefore value for money. Countries such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Mongolia are all implementing NDPASs similar to Ghana and none has opted for a free Google or other existing free mapping app. In fact, from the prices quoted by the international main supplier of the digital address systems all these countries have spent at least three times more than Ghana for their digital property addresses systems.”
Dr Bawumia however averred that for former president Mahama to claim that Ghana’s NDPAS and the accompanying GhanaPostGPS app is a 419 scam demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the system, saying that “We have been witnesses to 8 years of his governance as vice president and president and we know what 419 scams look like. The National Digital Property Address System: is not your 419 GH¢200 million SADA Guinea fowl and tree planting scam, is not your 419 Smarttys Bus Branding scam, is not your 419 $23 million runway at Kumasi Airport, is not your 419 GH¢ 952 million GYEEDA scam, is not the 419 $14 million mansion for the vice president, is not the 419 GH¢657m Woyome, Waterville and other judgement debt scams.”
Speaking at a Consultations of an Integrated Agricultural Programme for Ghana organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at Peduase in the Eastern Region, the Vice President told the participants that although there are other digital address systems in the world, he stressed that the one being introduced in Ghana is unique considering the fact that none of the digital address systems in the world focus on local relevance in the same way that the GhanaPostGPS platform does.
Dr. Bawumia also pointed out that, there have been several 419 scams that have become the hallmark of the administration of former president Mahama and that with the record that former president Mahama has in the area of governance; it is incredible that he would have the effrontery to talk about “419 scams”.
“We have spent $2.3 million on a NDPAS and I dare say it is money well spent for the benefit of all Ghanaians. It is not money finding itself into the pockets of a few cronies. We did not spend it on Akonfem, bus branding, over-priced mansions and contracts, ghost roads, etc. We have spent it on something productive.” He said, and added that “As a result, Ghana has an excellent digital property addressing system if former president Mahama would care to take some time and just read and learn about it. It was developed by Ghanaians and we should collectively take pride in their work and not try to pull them down.”
According to him work is proceeding and the NDPAS will be implemented with the physical tagging of each house next year as well as the synchronization of the digital address of each property with the address on the utility bills of the property.