"Digital Technology Has Become A Toolkit For The Civil Service" - Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke
President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), a Non-profit Organizations, Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke has hinted that Digital Technology has become a toolkit for the civil service in Ghana.
According to him, the old ways of doing business were a barrier to unlocking the full potential of the sector.
Speaking at a public lecture at the 2022 Civil Service Week celebration in Accra, he said "Now digital technology within the civil service should provide a fast route to getting our jobs done speedily and cost-effectively"
He added that employees can now save time and work more productively and cohesively, even across cities, countries, and continents through technology.
"Our regular work schedule of 8am to 5pm has inherent inefficiencies we need to purge. People report for work from 8am to 5pm, yet the effective working time may be only for about 2hours of real work"
He also noted that by improving technology in the civil service, it has become more appealing to younger workers.
"Graduates are expecting a technologically advanced workplace. They have grown up in the digital age, often being completely unfamiliar with the way things used to be. This means, they can work best when given the technology they are proficient at using. We need to adopt new ways of doing things., as the status quo is evidently not an option anymore"
Dr. Ayim-Darke further mentioned that it is imperative to bear in mind that going digital is no more an option, but a requirement of the age people live in and expect public workforces to embrace and maintain digital skills, through recurrent training, as that will give them a belonging into the digital transformation era.
"A number of our SMEs found value in virtual and digital solutions during the outbreak of the COIVID pandemic, thereby changing the way and manner they do business.
What is required of the public service is to rethink the future and prepare for the uncertainties and unfamiliar terrain that is unfolding.
"May I urge Governing Bodies to avert their mind to these developing trends in business and keep pace with these innovations and systems in the interest of a refined public service delivery"
"I convinced that our industrial sector, which forms an important nexus in our economy, could record a higher contribution to GDP, if we deploy the appropriate technology and build synergy between the public and private sectors. It is therefore imperative that we deepen this digitalization agenda for the private sector to leverage on the acceleration of our socio-economic development"
"I am aware that digitalization certainly generates user-data, and may I crave the indulgence of our public institutions to ensure effective data protection of privacy in our engagement"
"We consider our Civil Service an important partner, that can contribute meaningfully to improve public service delivery and we are delighted to join you at this moment. Do accept our hearty congratulations on this occasion of your Civil Service week celebration!"
"Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is obvious that the exigencies of our time, call for immediate actions to address the current needs. The big question is - how do we brace up to meet, not only the increasing and sophisticated needs of our society, but also our own need to keep pace with the evolving technologies of our times? We need to broaden this conversation...and that is why I was excited about the opportunity to speak at this event"
Dr. Ayim-Darke, however, noted that It is the firm belief that only a private sector-led industrial development, with mutual support from public institutions to reform and improve regulatory process and service delivery, will help create sustainable employment, wealth and growth of the Ghanaian economy and as the AGI, remain committed to this cause.
"We are at a pivotal time in our economic development and as we move forward, perhaps the greatest aspiration any of us could hope for, is an investment in H.E. the Vice President’s vision of Ghana becoming a digitalized and technology-driven economy, in order achieve a lot more with little"
He admitted that the private sector depends largely on the public sector for many services.
At the public sector level, it expected to see the public institutions and Government strengthen public administration and accountability structures, to reduce the bureaucracy in order to build business confidence for the private sector to enable it to thrive.
"It is the combination of good governance, effective MDAs role play and efficient private sector contribution, that will collectively bring efficiency in the way we operate as an economy"
"Recounting some past experiences for example; delays and the charge of unofficial fees at our ports, that undermine trade facilitation programmes and reforms, have been a major concern. However, with the paperless system, we have seen significant improvement in our cargo clearance and port operations, under the Single Window, and more recently, ICUMS"
"Payment and filing of tax returns online is also a positive development. The digital platforms have also enabled the payment of fees and charges in a more efficient manner than previously, being devoid of human contact.
We commend Government for the introduction of the digital address system as well"
"Often times, many of our MDAs insist on receiving hard copies of documents, that have to be endorsed, before any action. As much as we may…though often laboriously, we must be able to move from this culture to more securely digitised options"
Dr. Ayim-Darke noted that digitalization must be an integral part of the public sector reforms, to engender transparency fairness and efficiency in service delivery.
On her part, the Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Pomaa Boateng assured the Civil Service of Government's support to ensure effecience and effectiveness in their work.
She was confident that through a collective effort, the flag of the Civil Service will not only fly high but also be the most talked-about as well as most envied.
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith