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Nana Osei Afrifa, Chief Executive Officer for VOKACOM, the company that designed the National Digital Property Addressing System, has refuted suggestions that the Ghana government or his company will have to pay tech giant, Google, an amount of $400,000 every year to use their systems integrated into the addressing system to be used in Ghana.
“Google will not charge $400,000 every year…it was a misrepresentation of what was said. We have been contracted to do this in the first year. The first year of this, we as VOKACOM, as part of our bid put in that ‘Ghana please give us GHS9.9million to do this for you. When you give us that money, we will use it for a bunch of things. One of them will be to pay for licence fees’,” he said.
The payment issue first came up on Friday, 27 October when the Managing Director of GhanaPost GPS, James Kwofie, gave the media a breakdown of the $2.5million cost of the app at a press conference.
According to him: “In terms of the cost, what is being paid for is the back-end solution, data analytics, hardware i.e. the firewalls and servers, Google licence, marketing and publicity as well as technical support, and GHS1.7 million VAT which goes back to the government. Contrary to popular believe, Google charges when you use their systems for local purposes or commercial activities. The Google licence fee at the moment is $400,000 per year – that is the enterprise package.”
But the VOKACOM CEO explains it was a miscommunication and that the amount only covers the first year of operations as they negotiated with Google as a private entity. Having acquired the application by government, he said there are engagements with Google and there will not be any payments to the tune of $400,000 yearly as he explained that there was a “high probability that there will be no cost” because the app is now for Ghana.
“Ghana Post will take the app beyond the first and subsequent years, I can assure you, on authority that we are not going to pay Google about $400,000 every year. Yes we are looking at that for the first year, but not every year. Please let us get it right that this will not happen every year,” he told Joy FM’s Kojo Yankson on Monday, October 30.
Meawhile, Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said that Government of Ghana has no agreement whatsoever with Google as far as the use of the locally-produced digital addressing application, GhanaPost GPS, is concerned, for which reason the Akufo-Addo administration has to fork out $400,000 per year to the tech giant.
“Ghana government isn’t paying Google any money for anything, so, I don’t know where that is coming from. And it would help if people took their time to interrogate issues before they run with falsehoods and poison the atmosphere,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful told Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Monday, 30 October in response to IT critics such as US-based Ghanaian researcher, Kingsley Kormla Elikem, who has raised questions about the said payment to the tech giant.
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