Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says the COVID-19 pandemic should provide an opportunity for businesses and institutions to adopt relevant technology to improve service delivery.
He said business would not be as usual after the pandemic and institutions have no option than to subscribe to digital technology for efficiency.
Vice President Bawumia said this when he launched an Integrated ICT System for Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) at the Jubilee House, in Accra.
The ICT platform is an innovative solution to enhance transparency and accountability in the disbursement and recovery of loans. It would also address payment and settlement challenges as well as reach out to the wider unbanked population in the underserved communities.
Also, challenges associated with loan applications and low loan recovery rate would be a thing of the past and improve access to the target beneficiaries such as small-and-medium scale businesses and associations.
All beneficiaries are required to have MASLOC cards, Tax Identification Numbers(TIN) and digital addresses for easy tracking.
He said technology formed an integral part of President Akufo-Addo's government vision of digitising government machinery and enhancing public service delivery.
He said it would propel the country's agenda of building a digital economy and becoming the preferred business destination in Africa.
Dr Bawumia said the global COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the President's belief that building a digital economy is the way to go and would be the catalyst for development after the pandemic.
He said even before the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, government has started implementing digital architecture to transform the economy and thus, mentioned the rolling out of the Mobile Money Payment Interoperability System, National Digital and Property Addressing System, QR Code, Instant Pay and Ghana Link as some of the platforms to digitise the economy.
"I believe the ICT System will breathe fresh air of efficiency into the operations of MASLOC in terms of processing loans, increase access to products and services and reduce human interface.
"This is a major transformation of MASLOC and it would bring a huge element of transparency and accountability," the Vice President said.
Consequently, the Centre would not give out loans based on one's political affiliation, but to all qualified Ghanaians.
Dr Bawumia was of the conviction that the IT solution would improve the confidence and give impetus to the Finance Minister to grant more liquidity for MASLOC's operations.
Mr Stephen Amoah, the Chief Executive Officer of MASLOC, said the Centre was established in 2006 to close the equity gap between SMEs and large businesses.
He said the ICT platform would enhance efficiency in the operations and administration of loan disbursement and recovery, as well as protect the public purse.
It would also be useful to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, NBSSI and other national financial institutions in disbursement of funds.
The Centre, he said, has disbursed more than 115 million Ghana cedis to 97,195 beneficiaries over the past three years, compared to about 75 million Ghana cedis disbursed between 2009 and 2016.
Mr Amoah said it has created 570 new jobs and opened 200 offices in rural areas. Also, it has established Internal Audit and Entity Tender Committee and Internal Audit Unit to enhance efficiency and transparency in its operations.
The Centre, he said, would share its data with other universal banks and financial institutions to enhance loan disbursement to rural folks across the country.
Currently, MASLOC has formed partnership with ARB Apex Bank to improve service delivery.