Ghana Risk Losing Vital Records

Ghana is at serious risk of losing its vital documents at the Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) due to the deplorable state of the storage facility, lack of maintenance and resources to manage the department.

Documents at the department are gradually decaying due to lack of proper storage as well as lack of space to store new documents being generated on daily basis and need to be kept for future records.

PRAAD currently keeps documents dating back to 1800s, however, a tour of the facility by the CEO of Origin8 to see how Origin8 could support the department revealed that if no immediate action is taken to salvage the situation, the country’s vital records will be wiped out in the coming years.

Briefing the Origin8 team during the tour, Ag. Director of PRAAD, Mr. Felix Nyarko Ampong explained that since the construction of the main office building under Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, there have not been any renovation till date.

He added that despite receiving support from some agencies to build additional storage facilities, they are already filled with documents.

“Will you believe that documents were taken from here to support our legal battle against Ivory Coast, which we won? Also, other organizations like Tullow have also been here for documents in the period of the oil discovery and exploration,” the Director explained.

According to him, the department is woefully under resourced and despite technological advancement, the department is unable to migrate to the digital platform of record keeping.

“If there is a fire outbreak now, this country will loss all of its vital records which are being kept here and there are no copies anywhere else,” he said in disappointment.

He further added that there is an IT consultant ready to help them migrate onto the digital platform but they are under resourced and cannot pay for the software to be use.

According to the 2017 budget statement and operating under the Office of the Head of Civil Service, the department was allocated a total of GH¢1,679,792.00 out of which GH¢1,327,196.00 is for compensation of employees and GH¢316,000.00 for goods and services.

The department also keeps records of all court rulings including the recent verdict on the Ghana-Ivory Coast maritime dispute as well as national newspapers among others.

Commenting on the state of the department, CEO of Origin8, William Ansah expressed shock at how such an important department could be abandoned with such vital documents to decay.

Mr. Ansah said we are in a modern world with advance technology to help keep the country’s records safe, hence there is no excuse not to migrate unto the digital platform.

He further pledged that Origin8 will start engaging some key stakeholders to help raise funds to support the department.

Source: Albert Amekudzi

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