The $138 million National Data Centre managed by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) is being underutilised due to lack of funds and poor patronage by the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITA, Mr Jeff Konadu, the data centre was to cater for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) needs of the MDAs, but majority of them were not patronising NITA’s services.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra, Mr Konadu said most of the MDAs rather preferred to engage private companies which rendered poor services at higher costs.
Another challenge facing NITA is its inability to retain skilful staff because of poor remuneration.
“We are unable to retain our skilled staff because private companies offer better conditions of service, thereby enticing them to leave NITA,” Mr Konadu added.
The 600-rack National Data Centre, which was launched in January 2016, could help spur on the country’s ICT infrastructure for economic growth, Mr Konadu said.
The World Bank has estimated that for every 10 per cent rise in bandwidth for a country, an expected average point of one per cent in gross domestic product (GDP) growth was expected to be recorded.
The National Data Centre is an ultra-modern tier-III design data centre that comes with a 24/7 video monitoring system, redundant power, secure access features (biometric + card system), policies and processes, over 160 racks installed (capacity for 600 racks), quality service and affordable prices.
The services available include a rack co-location, virtual private servers, offside backup and managed support services.
MDAs data scattered
Mr Konadu noted that currently the data of the various MDAs were scattered and that had created a situation of duplication of data.
He said one of the challenges NITA was faced with was the reluctance of MDAs to pay for services rendered by the centre.
According to him, the MDAs were willing to pay more for services provided by private companies when indeed NITA had the capacity to provide better services for less, as well as ensure the security of the data of their clients.
Mr Konadu said the Act establishing NITA required all MDAs to receive ICT services from NITA and for that reason, NITA was working out a programme towards that, the initial stage of which was to find out the specific needs of MDAs in order to satisfy them.
He said currently NITA was working with the MDAs to bring all of them on board the National Data Centre.
“As part of the programme, we have opened up their internet lines for them to use at least 48 hours so we can know their usage level. We will then invite them and work out a plan on their actual needs and find means of providing satisfactory services,” Mr Konadu added.
He said he began rolling out the programme exactly a month after taking office.
Mr Konadu said his vision was to implement the NITA Act, 2008 (Act 771) to the letter in order to build a world-class national ICT infrastructure base.
He said there was also the need to bring all government IT professionals under NITA, so as to properly regulate their activities, offer them better training, as well as harmonise and secure government data.