Experts Pooh Pooh’s Bawumia’s Digitization Plan

Some critics and experts, including the Dean of the School of Business at the University of Cape-Coast, Professor John Gatsi, have warned that the government’s fixation on digitization that is not tailored well to livelihood enhancement is a misplaced priority.

In a write-up, Prof. Gatsi laments that if the national digitization drive is not pursued in a way that improves the provision of the necessities of life, the program will not be altogether useful.

His caution comes in the wake of the Akufo-Addo government touting its digitization programs including making it possible to apply for National ID cards online.

“If we make the mistake of thinking that digitalization surpasses the provision of common needs of the people then we are saying applying for Ghana card online on empty stomach is a great achievement. Doing all including deepening digitalization is a must. Because Ghanaians will say let me work to enjoy digitalization. Let me have the internet to enjoy digitalization. Let fuel prices go down to enjoy digitalization. Let incomes be stable to enjoy digitalization,” Prof. Gatsi wrote.

He points out that people will for instance not be in a position to take advantage of advanced payment systems if they do not have the money in the first place.

“People don’t enjoy enhanced payment systems without the ability to earn sustainable incomes,” he wrote.

According to the economist and lawyer, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is still fundamentally potent even in the face of digitalization. 

“Digitalization is only relevant if it helps the economy to realize basic needs. Digitalization is a requirement to do many things effectively, thus digitalization should not be isolated for discussion,” Gatsi said.

Professor Gatsi added that the hard truth is, it is not a replacement for the provision of potable water, industrial and domestic access to cheaper energy. 

“It’s also not a replacement for debt overhang, fiscal dominance and massive unemployment. Poor housing schemes, low investments in roads, irrigation facilities and continuous income erosion for households cannot be replaced by digitization or digitalization.”

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