The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, says government’s successful digitization drive is not only ensuring efficient delivery of public services, it is also contributing significantly to the fight against corruption in the public sector.
During his State of the Economy lecture last week at the National TESCON Conference, Dr. Bawumia noted that one of the reasons for embarking on a vigorous digitization drive is to reduce human contact in public service delivery in order to considerably minimise the risk of bribery and corruption in the system.
“Our approach to improving the delivery of public services is to minimize human contact as much as possible. Therefore, we embarked on an aggressive digitalization of the processes of service delivery across many public institutions with coordination from my office,” Dr. Bawumia said.
The digitization process, Dr. Bawumia noted, has made a significant impact on efficient public service delivery, boosted revenue and also helping in the fight against corruption in many sectors.
The Vice President provided detailed accounts, with figures, to prove how the minimised human contact through digitization, has reduced corruption and significantly boosted government’s revenue mobilization at the DVLA, ports, passport office, motor insurance, etc.
At the Passport Office, for instance, Dr. Bawumia revealed that digitization of the passport application process has resulted in less human contact and a major increase in the number of passports processed annually as well as the revenue yield to the passport office.
“In 2017 the passport office processed a total of 16,232 applications with revenue of GH¢1.1m. In 2021, the passport office received and processed 498,963 online passport applications with a total revenue of GH¢56.7m.”
“Digitization has dealt a severe blow to corruption at the Passport Office,” Dr. Bawumia added.
At the ports, the Vice President also recounted how previously, the bureaucratic processes in the clearing of goods involved a lot of paperwork, delays, corruption, inefficiencies, frustrations and loss of revenue to government.
“Many citizens who had cleared goods at the country’s ports had horror stories about their experiences at the ports,” he said, adding that: “the introduction of a paperless port system has reduced the layers and simplified the process, reduced the time needed to clear goods and the avenues for corruption and increased efficiencies and revenue mobilization at the ports.”
“Customs revenue has increased from GH¢10.3 billion in 2016 to GH¢16.1 billion in 2021. Digitization has clearly reduced corruption at the ports.”
Dr. Bawumia mentioned similar efficient service at the DVLA, with digitalization of the drivers licenses in 2019, ensuring an increase in service by 109% in 2020.
“The average cost at the DVLA is GH¢500.00 and GH¢550.00 for vehicle and driver licensing services respectively compared to the lower band cost of between GH¢2000 and GH¢3000.00 respectively under the ‘goro’ market. Thus, the digitization has saved the DVLA customer the cost of vehicle services by 200% and driver licenses service by 264%, at the minimum.”
On revenue from the DVLA, Dr. Bawumia revealed that the DVLA “generated an average revenue of GH¢71.5 million in the four years (2013-2016) prior to digitisation as compared to the average revenue of GH¢168.4 in the four years (2017-2020) with digitisation.”
The Vice President also stated how the digitised Motor Insurance Database, has made it possible to help curb the menace of fake motor insurance stickers by dialing the USSD code 92057# to authenticate a genuine motor insurance.
Through digitization, the motor insurance industry, Dr. Bawumia noted, has increased from “19% in 2019 to 37% in 2020 and 26% in 2021. The value of the business undertaken increased from GH¢566 million in 2017 to GH¢2.3 billion in 2021.”
“Digitization has dealt a severe blow to corruption in the insurance industry with no room for fake insurance certificates.”
Dr. Bawumia also showed how the recently launched e-ticket for football matches, which started with the Ghana versus Nigeria World Cup qualifiers in Kumasi registered unprecedented Gate proceeds without selling of direct ticket at the gates.
“It was a successful pilot and yielded the highest ever revenue (GH¢1,423,400) for a football match in the history of Ghana,” revealed the Vice President.
Following the digitization of several government services, these services and payments have also been converged on one platform, Ghana.Gov to ensure easy access to the public, as well as reliable tracking of payments.
Dr. Bawumia gave an update on the output of the platform, and how it is contributing to the fight against corruption.
“The platform (Ghana.gov) has so far received a total GH¢55.7 billion of payments to government since its inception. It is quite likely that if these payments were made through cash, quite a bit would have ended up in private pockets.”
“Digitization has therefore dealt a severe blow to corruption involved in the collection of payments by different institutions for government.”