President Akufo-Addo exchanging pleasantries with Jerry John Rawlings at the launch of the National Digital Property Addressing System in Accra while his wife Nana Konadu looks on excitedly (Picture By Gifty Ama Lawson)
Ghana has finally joined the list of nations that are hooked on to a digital property addressing system, following the launch of ‘ghanapostGPS.’
The digital addressing system is a modern approach to allocating addresses within a defined space with the aid of the latest geocoding technology.
This marks the dawn of a new era from the previous one when locations were identified with landmarks.
The $2.5 million digital addressing system is expected to provide addresses to 16.1 billion locations in the country – “every 5 by 5 metres square will be provided with an address.”
What the previous NDC government budgeted a colossal amount of money to attempt doing is costing just $2.5 million.
The AsaaseGPS app, developed by Vokacom – a local Ghanaian software developer – has been handed over to Ghana Post to manage.
The app takes one to every nook and cranny of the country with a unique postcode, using the initiator, #Jack where are you? as slogan.
Speaking at the launch of the National Digital Property Addressing System (NDPAS) at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) yesterday, President Akufo-Addo noted that over the years, Ghanaians have become accustomed to using landmarks as the means of giving directions of the location of properties.“The ‘blue kiosk,’ the ‘waakye’ seller, the ‘Kofi brokeman’ seller and ‘that big tree at the junction,’ have become reference points for giving out locations. Today marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. We are launching a solution to our location and addressing problems, and this will, ultimately, change the way we do things,” according to the president.
This was in fulfillment of one of the promises by President Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2016 electioneering campaign which brought them to power.
He therefore emphasized, “we have stayed true to this commitment, and reaffirmed it in this year’s ‘Asempa’ Budget.”
With effect from yesterday, he indicated that “every land or property will be assigned a unique identifier. This will facilitate improved ownership data and unique identification of properties and persons. A proper addressing of properties will ensure efficient delivery of services for economic development.”
With this new system, “every property in Ghana will have an address and can be accounted for, including the location of the ‘blue kiosk,’ the ‘waakye seller’ or the ‘koko seller.’”
Apart from that, President Akufo-Addo indicated, “The ‘koko seller’ can now open a bank account, as he or she will be able to meet the basic requirement to access loan facilities from a bank. The ‘koko seller,’ like many other small businesses, can also grow his or her business.”
He was therefore of the belief that registering all properties in Ghana would lead to the lowering of the cost of doing business.
“Once your address can be located, the risk premium charged by banks will be lower. Businesses can now produce at lower costs, and will have enough funds for reinvestments.”
Through this system, he said, the government could move to strengthen the health and safety of the public whilst law enforcement agencies can easily access addresses more effectively in order to deal with crime; health, fire and ambulance services can effectively identify property locations in order to save lives at a faster rate.
President Akufo-Addo said the newly launched addressing system would be at the core of business transactions in the country.
He noted, “No Ghanaian will be issued with the new Ghana Card without a verified house and street address.”
He has since urged all stakeholders, including the ministries, security agencies, health authorities, education, Lands Commission, financial institutions, private sector operators, to liaise with the Ministry of Communications and Ghana Post – which are the custodians and administrators of the system – to leverage on this technology to enhance their operations.
With the system coming on stream, the president was also certain that the Ghana Water Company Limited, Electricity Company of Ghana and local governments can now plan and collect revenues in a more systematic manner.
The Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, urged the public to download the ‘ghanapostGPS’ Ghana Post application and register their properties in the system.
She said the system had been properly built with features to address cyber security concerns and indicated that it would be difficult for cyber criminals to access the data of people.