‘Ghana risks losing vital national records’

BY: Dominic Moses Awiah
Some of the national records left to rot at PRAAD.

GHANA risks losing its national records and essential documents unless urgent measures are put in place to digitise them, the Chief Record Officer of the Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) has said.

Mr Fredrick Amarteifio cautioned that more than 50 years of vital national records, which were currently left in the hands of under-staffed PRAAD, could be lost should any natural disaster or human error occur.
“In case of fire outbreak or flood, the nation could lose all relevant documents,” the chief record officer said at the launch of the 2015 International Archives Day Celebration in Accra.

June 9 of every year has been set aside to mark the International Council on Archives day. Founded in 1948, the International Council on Archives was created under the auspices of UNESCO.

PRAAD bleeds

Mr Amarteifio said government’s allocated budget to PRAAD, over the past years, had not been enough for the department to digitise important national documents.

“Most of our staff do not have the requisite skills and training to convert all our manual records into electronic data. The few ones with the knowledge are also leaving PRAAD to join other organisations with better condition of services,” he said.
Mr Amarteifio said unless the country realised the benefits of keeping and maintaining national records, it would be difficult to appreciate the work of the PRAAD.

Touching on some of the activities to commemorate this year’s celebration, he said the department had, among other things, been opened to the public, especially students, to visit and acquaint themselves with some essential national documents.
Mr Amarteifio appealed to the donor community to lend support to the department and asked private institutions to partner PRAAD.

Govt’s support

Delivering her keynote address, the Director in charge of Training and Development at the Office of the Head of Civil Service, Mrs Patricia Agyepong, called for urgent intervention to resource the department.
She said the reason why the state lost millions of cedis to judgement debts was because of the lack of vital document to defend cases.