Address system: Vokacom paid money to Google not Gov’t – Nana Afrifa

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vokacom Nana Osei Afrifa has dispelled claims that the Akufo-Addo’s government paid money to Google for the new digital addressing system.

He stated emphatically that management of Vokacom paid the money to Google for navigation purposes without the involvement of Government.

Nana Afrifa stated that Government won’t pay money to Google when Vokacom hands over the project to government saying Google Map is free for individuals and not companies.

‘…We budgeted 9.9 million Ghana cedis including VAT ($2.3 million) and presented to government, but Google payment wasn’t part of proposal sent to government, the government told us to look for our money else where for Google and that it won’t be part of that payment, for the sake of the country and the future of the business.

‘We at Vokacom paid 400 thousand Ghana cedis to Google out of our pockets and not government. Government of Ghana has not given any money to Google, because it has no intention of giving money to Google,’ the CEO of the local technology entity said.

Speaking on Ultimate Breakfast Show with Lantam Papanko, he explained that the hullabaloo about Ghana’s digital address system is as a result of lack of people’s understanding of how Information Technology (IT) works.

He discounted perception that Google Maps App, WhatsApp and other applications are all free saying front end are mostly free but the back end is not free.

Nana Afrifa said GhanaPost GPS is free for use, just like Google map App indicating that Google bought its App from Skybox at the cost of 400 million dollars.

He further rubbished claims that the digital address system is a replica of Google maps App saying they are not attempting to reinvent the wheel.

‘These things are not cheap, you see, we assume that when the consumer end is free and so the back end is also going to be free. WhatsApp is free of charge but that didn’t stop Facebook from paying 19.1 billion dollars for purchasing WhatsApp. Just because you are using it for free doesn’t mean they are free at the back end. Anybody who says Google is free has no idea what he/she is talking about.

‘Government would have to contact Google to be able to locate people’s properties. Google is going to charge for that information…There is a complete understanding of the front end to the back end. That is how IT companies make money… We only use Google to run directions,’ he stated.

He said it will be difficult for people to receive deliveries in the next five years if their addresses are not correctly computed in the national system.

‘I can guarantee that it will not last 24 hours for the police to make arrest if somebody dupes you, its a long term problem and we need a long term solution, let us not be too fixated on the short term, we have lived with the problem for more than 100 years, this is the first genuine attempt, we can’t solve it within three weeks lets take our time. Lets have five years to solve the problem, a long term problem desrves long term solution,’ he encouraged.

He assured that the best security apparatus in the country are guarding Ghana’s data jealously which is being hosted by Amazon web services and NITA.

Nana Afrifa questioned why some Ghanaians are complaining about the security of the digital address system but are not worried about their sensitive data which sit on WhatsApp and Facebook.

By: Ghana/