Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has reechoed government’s willingness to support any institution which intends implementing digital initiatives to promote efficiency and fight corruption in the provision of public services.
Such initiatives, he explained, align with President Akufo-Addo’s vision to make access to government services easier, more efficient, and reduce the human interface which could lead to corruption.
Dr Bawumia said this yesterday at the launch of a digitalised national assay laboratory, run by the National Assayer, the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), which has the mandate to assay all precious minerals earmarked for export.
“As you are aware, Government is already transforming the governance of various sectors of Ghana’s economy through digitization. Government’s digitisation drive is a key component of the overall economic strategy because the Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and Ghana must take advantage of it if we are not to be left behind,” he noted.
Dr. Bawumia pointed out that the digitisation drive of government is spreading to cover many sectors of the national economy.
Thus, “one area where the government has made significant inroads has been using digitisation to address the issue of efficient public service delivery and checking corruption.”
He added that government’s approach to improving the delivery of public services is to minimise human contact as much as possible.
“Consequently, we have embarked on an aggressive digitisation of the processes of service delivery across many public institutions. I am happy to indicate that the launch of the Digitalised National Assay Laboratory today is a major addition to the Government’s portfolio of digital initiatives already implemented,” he added.
The Vice-President lauded the leadership roles played by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Board of PMMC, led by Kinston Kissi, and the management and staff of PMMC for digitising the operations of the National Assayer.
He indicated that it would, among others, provide real-time data on Ghana’s gold exports and ensure the nation receives the revenue due her.
Verifying gold exports
He recalled that, in 2017, President Akufo-Addo directed that Government identifies a way to independently verify gold exports in order to ensure that the country obtains revenue due it from its precious mineral resources.
“Following several engagements with the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Association of Gold Exporters, now Chamber of Bullion Traders, Ghana, modalities for the smooth take-off of the National Assay Programme were put in place, and PMMC officially commenced operations as the National Assayer with the mandate to assay all gold earmarked for export from Ghana, in February 2018,” he said.
According to him, as part of measures to optimise revenue and ultimately maximise the benefits from the country’s natural resources, the silver identified in the gold ore which is exported shall soon be quantified and the appropriate tax levied on and collected from same.
Dr. Bawumia disclosed that the President recognises that Ghana’s progress as a nation in the modern world is inextricably linked to digitisation and will, therefore, continue its adoption for enhanced service delivery.
This, he said, is a critical path for the nation remaining relevant and competitive in the world of today and tomorrow.
Shedding more light on the benefits of digitising the assay process, the Managing Director of PMMC, Nana Akwasi Awuah, said it is possible to generate assay certificates which have unique security features.
“These unique features will make the certificates difficult to forge by gold scammers to facilitate their dubious elaborate schemes. Digitisation has also now made it possible to monitor in real time, gold exports passing through the National Assay Laboratory.
“At the click of a button, persons given access to the dashboard can see, in real time, the amount of gold exported in both kilograms and ounces, where it was exported to, the value in Ghana cedis and dollars, the withholding tax, the exporter, and many other relevant data in order to aid national economic planning,” he added.