… agency threatens to take some off
The state institution responsible for supplying internet services to all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), has given an alert that it would soon begin taking some MDAs off its internet supply due to their failure to pay for the service despite the many reminders and cautions.
According to NITA, the debt of MDAs has reached over GH¢20 million and if measures are not put in place to curtail it from growing as it has implications, not only on the balance sheet of NITA, but also disrupting some of its plans and projects as they might face financial challenges.
Speaking to the B&FT, Director General of NITA, Richard Okyere-Fosu, said, the move to cut off internet supply would be last resort as many attempts to address the challenge are yet to be fruitful.
“The debt goes back to 2014. ECG, as far back as 2006, used to be in my situation and they were not happy at all. Government institutions use their electricity and they do not pay for it. It is a classic thing with government institutions, once they know that it is one arm of government to the other arm of government.
If I don’t pay my electricity, my power would be cut off, so I am going to get to the point where I will cut them off because if you don’t pay, I cannot pay the people I also owe. I have written to the Finance Ministry and had conversations with them saying that, during the budget cycle, they should let the MDAs understand that they owe NITA this and we want it taken from source.”
He added that, NITA has gone into partnership with a private firm to support their operation and ensure that they deliver on their mandate to support socio-economic growth of the country.
“NITA is working with a private partner who is helping us to build the networks, the private partner would not have the stomach for this debt to be paid before we pay them, so sooner or later you would hear; we will cut them off. It is not our choice but it is businesses,” he said.
ICT stakeholder conference
Mr. Okyere-Fosu made this known on the side-lines of the ICT Stakeholder Conference organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and NITA. The conference was organized to solicit comments and ideas to fine-tune the ICT Standards and Policy guidelines. It also served as a medium for NITA to disseminate information to stakeholders and the public, concerning the progress of Regulatory initiatives and other issues.
The purpose of these standards is to ensure the provision of quality information communications technology, promote standards of efficiency and ensure high quality of service. Apart from the conference serving as an important forum for key ICT stakeholders to discuss the ICT Standards and Guidelines, it also deliberated on matters of common interest that relates to the sector.