A National Digital and Property Addressing System, aptly-dubbed 'ghanapostGPS,' a modern approach to allocating addresses within a defined space with the aid of the latest geocoding technology, has been launched in Accra.
The system, which is robust and works irrespective of changes in borders and environment, seeks to formalised the Ghanaian economy and transform and improve the operations of business activities in the country.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who launched the addressing system on Wednesday, said the project constitute a practical manifestation of yet another promise of the New Patriotic Party made during the 2016 campaign to modernised and formalised the Ghanaian economy by establishing a national identification system which sits on a digital and property addressing system.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the informal nature of Ghana's economy had been a major constraint to her development, thus, affecting the nation's ability to broaden the tax base, deepen and widen financial inclusion and deliver services to those most in need.
"It has been a barrier to job creation. It is for this reason that we have, over the last 9 months, the period of my stay in office, taken bold steps to formalise the economy and the way we conduct our everyday activities, including the way government delivers services to citizens most in need," he added.
To achieve the formalization of the economy, the President asserted that his government had begun 3 initiatives - firstly, the launch of the "Ghana Card", the country's new National ID; secondly, the National Digital Property Addressing System; and thirdly, the launch of the Interoperable Electronic Platform for the payment of goods and services and electronic transfers across the country which will be launched in November, this year.
President Akufo-Addo said over the years, Ghanaians have become accustomed to using landmarks as the means of giving directions of the location of a property.
"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."
The President continued, "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."
The project, incorporated in partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Ghana Post, according to President Akufo-Addo, would give the country a trustworthy database of addresses.
President Akufo-Addo said in this dispensation, "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, he said, would 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. The Property Addressing System also means that 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."
According to President Akufo-Addo, the registration of all properties in the country would lead to the lowering of the cost of doing business, because "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."
Additionally, through this system, Government can now move to strengthen the health and safety of the public. 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.
"We should soon enjoy the advantages of having all security and emergency services responding to situations in efficient and timely manner, to provide critical security and first aid, the President said.
He noted that one cannot obtain the "Ghana Card" without an address. "With the registration for the 'Ghana Card' commencing in November, it is my expectation that all individuals and properties will be able to obtain their own unique addresses, as we strive to build a credible national address register.
"The national address database creates an avenue for new businesses and industry. I urge all stakeholders - Ministries, Security Agencies, Health Authorities, Education, Lands Commission, Financial Institutions, Private Sector Operators - to liaise with the Ministry of Communications and Ghana Post, who are the custodians and administrators of the system, to leverage on this technology to enhance their operations," he added.
The Ghana Water Company Limited, the Electricity Company of Ghana and Local Governments can now plan and collect revenues in a more systematic manner, which makes their business models sustainable as each customer will now be traceable, the President said.
The Minister for Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, said she was thrilled to witness the historic launch that was not just a key part of the digitisation agenda of the New Patriotic Party Government of Nana Akufo-Addo, but also the rebirth of GhanaPost.
According to her, the inability to keep up with technological advancements in the past bedeviled GhanaPost and almost killed it.