Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications has ordered all ICT service providers and practitioners to register with the National Information Technology (NITA), to operate under global acceptable standards.
This would help them to have the requisite certification and capacity to manage the ICT systems deployed within the public and private sector institutions.
She said those who failed to do so would be sanctioned, stating that; “Act 771 requires that all ICT service providers and practitioners register with NITA and must be in good standing to qualify to do business.”
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful gave the directive when she delivered a keynote address at the ICT stakeholders forum 2022 organized by NITA in collaboration with the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Accra.
The forum was on the theme: “Regulating ICT Businesses and Practitioners in Ghana: Opportunities and Challenges.”
She said as the ICT sector grew, it came with its associated risk and hazards that required proper management to prevent the loss of resources for citizens, businesses, and the economy at large.
“It is therefore imperative that Government partners with the private sector to ensure that systems are standardized to withstand attacks and that Government being forward-looking, in 2008 enacted the National Information Technology Agency Act, (Act, 771) to establish NITA to regulate the ICT sector.
“This was to ensure that the ecosystem was governed by globally acceptable standards and professionals with the requisite certification and capacity to man the ICT systems deployed within the public and private sector institutions,” she stated.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said NITA as a regulator focused on the protection of consumer interest within the ecosystem; monitor compliance with a contractual obligation to the government, users, and another legal and regulatory requirement.
“There will be a database of businesses and practitioners who are in good standing with the regulator. This database will be made available to businesses online to confirm ICT service providers and practitioners who are in good standing to reduce occupational risk to businesses,” she stated.
She encouraged NITA to tap into the rich skillset of the industry by forming working groups to periodically review standards and regulations and provide some advisory and valuable inputs on government policies.
“I will expect to see such partnership churning out webinars, workshops, and training programs on technology in 2023.”
She stressed that NITA partnering with academia and industry is the surest way of providing tailored solutions that address peculiar problems as a nation and saving the nation of much-needed forex and export of some of the Ghanaian-made solutions.
Mr Richard Okyere-Fosu, the Director General of NITA said Ghana’s ICT sector was currently estimated at US$1 billion and may reach US$5 billion by 2030 and that both government and the private sector continued to make a significant investments in the industry.
He said the digitalization of Ghana’s economy was important while it posed a great deal of risk if not well managed hence Act 771 and 772 to regulate the provision of ICT, to promote standards and ensure high quality of service.
Mr Okyere-Fosu explained that the objectives of the meeting was to formally introduce NITA to the industry as the regulator, share its vision and mission as well as its strategy to regulating the industry.
“This will afford us the opportunity to listen to key stakeholders and get their inputs on the journey that we hope to be embarking together.
He mentioned some of the objectives as to sensitise the ICT industry of NITA’s role in digitalising the economy; sourcing of industry expectations of the regulator, and inputs on best practices; start a public and media sensitization of NITA’s mandate and activities lined up; and to solicit support and forge the much-needed partnership with the industry stakeholders.