Government is to introduce an IT infrastructure network dubbed: ‘GOVNET’, to connect all government agencies on a single secure network.

Government will also conduct an IT systems audit on all state agencies to ensure compliance with rules and regulations of the National Information Technology Agency, NITA which is the government agency mandated to regulate the use of ICT in Ghana.

These were made known by the Minister of Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful at a stakeholders forum, where new modalities on the use of Information Technology by state agencies were announced.

Mrs. Ekuful said these initiatives have become necessary due to government’s digitization drive, which will help promote digital inclusiveness.

The project is expected to connect all rural areas onto the National Information Technology Agency NITA.

The sector Minister, Mrs. Ekuful said the agency, which is the state’s entity mandated to regulate Information Technology operations in the country will ensure strict compliance to rules that regulate the sector.

She told Radio Ghana that the introduction of GOVNET will not be a duplication of what the National Information Technology Agency NITA already does.

“We are in the process of establishing a mationwide government IT infrastructure network (GOVNET) which will conect all government agencies.As we are digitizing ,we are expecting all the agencies to use network system and without the IT infrastructure its not possible.”

Mrs. Ekuful said the National Information Technology Agency, NITA will conduct a nationwide IT audit of all state agencies.

“An IT systems audit will also be conducted shortly to enable us ascertain the IT resources we have across government and the state in which they are.This will enable NITA make the appropriate recommendation for upgrades.”

The National Information Technology Agency NITA is mandated under the electronicTransaction Act 772 Section 88 (1) to establish an industry forum, to serve as a gathering for stakeholders to deliberate on matters of common interests. However, the Communications Ministry and NITA are to participate as observers.

Also speaking at the forum, Acting Director General for the National Information Technology Agency, (NITA), David Gyawu, says the indebtedness of state institutions to the agency is preventing it from exercising its mandate as a regulatory body of the ICT industry.

He has therefore called on State agencies that owe it, to settle their debts to enable the Agency provide better services.

Mr. Gyawu said though almost all state agencies owe it, the agency is unable to cut service to them because most of them provide essential services.

“I know there is a belief that NITA exists to give service to government agencies… It cannot be done for free…Despite the fact that these agencies don,t pay for the services,we can not cut you off….If we cut off immigration,we will have problems at the airport and ports….I cannot cut off the controller and Accountant General Department because all government workers will not be paid….You all owe. “

Story by Nathaniel Nartey