Government is to convert all post offices across the country into electronic service centres to deepen digital financial inclusion and internet access in the hinterlands, Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has said.
“We are going to turn all our post offices and community information centres into e-services centres where you can go for all your electronic transactions. Even if you don’t have the facilities in your home or you don’t have internet connectivity, you can go to a designated point in your community where you can have those services.
It is a process and we are working with our partners to ensure that it happens. Once we put the structures in place, I am convinced that, before long, there will be an explosion in this digital financial services space because we see it happening without any push,” she told B&FT in an interview in Parliament.
The conversion, which is expected to be done in phases, would also provide jobs when it is completed. The Minister was hopeful that the entire project would be completed in four years.
According to Mrs. Ekuful, her Ministry has already set up an e-payment platform for the provision of about 14 services across various post offices in the country.
Analysts have noted that lack of world class office infrastructure constitutes a major bottleneck for the growth and development of techno-entrepreneurship in the country.
With the advent of Information Communication Technology (ICT), most post offices across the country have become defunct.
The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), which is an agency under the Communications Ministry, has procured a Satellite Hub to extend connectivity to under-served and un-served areas. “So far 100 communities have been connected,” the minister said.
In respect of rural telephony, 117 sites have been constructed in communities where access to mobile services is not available. “93 out of the 117 sites are active whiles the remaining 24 sites are at the testing stage,” the minister said.
The Communications Ministry is also working closely with the National Communications Authority (NCA) to ensure that their oversight responsibility of the mobile network operators, in terms of Quality of Service and coverage obligations, is intensified.
The Communications Minister told Parliament that existing regulations enjoin all the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to achieve nationwide coverage with respect to their Licence obligations(2G) and also cover all District Capitals as part of their 3G Licence obligations.