An Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. Emmanuel Kofi Akowuah, is calling for greater collaboration with Universities in the implementation of the government’s digitalisation agenda.
“The role of Universities in nation building can been seen in three main areas: human resource development through teaching, knowledge generation through the conduct of research and service to the community through the application of specialised skills and knowledge.
“All three roles are driven by the generation of new knowledge through cutting edge relevant research by Universities. In this regard the critical role of Universities in the digitalisation agenda of the Government cannot be underestimated,” he emphasized.
His comments come at the back of the current government’s aggressive roll out of several digital innovations within the economy.
The ruling NPP government has touted its implementation of a number of programs to create a digitally accessible public sector for economic growth.
Ghana’s transitioning to a digitalized world is gradually seeing the limelight as the government continues to implement policies tailored towards its materialization.
However, some of the initiatives have suffered some challenges with their implementation.
Touching on this, Prof. Akowuah said the government’s collaboration with Universities through investment in R&D will ensure the development of new technologies and the innovative application of existing solutions to efficiently solve Ghana’s peculiar problems.
“As a nation, we are plagued with problems such as corruption, tax evasion, poor health care delivery, poor sanitation, huge housing deficit and many more just like other countries across the globe.
“Ghanaian Universities could work together with government to develop solutions taking into consideration our peculiar circumstances. This will ensure that interventions or initiatives rolled out by governments are effective and efficient at dealing with the specific problems.
“With all these innovations ongoing, somebody would expect that 1-5% would be invested in Ghanaian Universities to really start thinking ahead as far as the country’s problems are concerned,” he said.
Prof. Akowuah suggests “A study could have been funded to know if there is a way that the traces of data everybody is leaving in the system can be stitched together to build a tax profile. So, people can be taxed efficiently instead of having a flat tax.”
“People are now linking all identification systems to the Ghana card. This is a critical step. This intervention can be exploited to solve most of the country’s challenges with tax traceability.
“Assuming we have an efficient system that can take these data and stitch them together, even if one doesn’t want to pay tax and take things in cash, they will have to spend, or even give to someone. They won’t be able to dodge the system since everything will be traced back to them,” he said.
Prof. Akowuah is certain there is no better time to be more aggressive at digitising the economy than now as it is crucial for sustainable economic growth.
“It holds the key to our economic liberation. It’s important that Government brings everyone on board to appreciate the bigger picture so that maximum benefit could be derived.
“Looking at some of the interventions by the government, they are foundations for greater works yet to come. But, do we take advantage of those things and have the ability to implement them?
“We can’t underestimate these interventions. The future is bright based on the foundations we are building. We need to build these well and think through the future to put these interventions together so people could better appreciate them. Working with technology research institutions is very critical at this time,” he said.