The Association of Ghana Industries, AGI, says for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to stay competitive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of data must be given a critical look.
Although a recent survey by a British technology research firm, Cable, has shown that data cost in Ghana is ranked the sixth lowest in Africa and 34th lowest in the world, the AGI believes more can be done to reduce the cost further.
CEO of the Association of Ghana Industries, Seth Twum Akwaboah, spoke to Citi Business News on the sidelines of an SME clinic organized by Graphic business and Access Bank.
He indicated that the government should consider looking into the issue as companies continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses.
“For a typical small enterprise that wants to do business, it is going to consume a lot of data inputting the products out there in the e-market space, but then if you want to do that then it means that you must be willing to spend more money. If you don’t generate enough resources it becomes very difficult to get into it and be part of it so that is another area that has to be discussed. What do we do to ensure that the cost of data comes down? And here it is not just the telecoms, it is also government role that they have to play in terms of proper regulation and then also investing in some of the areas.”
He added that “if government lays out the infrastructure and it is owned by the government, I believe that the telecoms who are also doing it, their levels of investment will be lower because if they invest so much they must recoup their investment through the data pricing and therefore all these have to be taken into account. I believe the government is doing a lot but we can still look at it and see how we strategize because the thing is that it is a competitive world”.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, a lot more businesses, particularly, SMEs are relying more on information technology in their operations.
This may partly be fuelled by the growing preference of people to online services rather than in person as a means to reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus.
According to the survey conducted among 228 countries by British technology research firm, Cable and published in September 2020, the average cost of 1GB of mobile data in Ghana is US$0.98 (GHC5.69).
Ghana also ranked 6th in 2019 with an average of US$1.56 per 1GB of mobile data, which was significantly higher than the current figure.