Why spend $2.5m on GhanaPost GPS app when it could be free?

I think the country would have been spared the embarrassment that the infantile GhanaPost GPS app has brought, had the right thing been done.

It’s true the country has grave issues with its address system, but the solution is clearly not the current state of the GhanaPost GPS.

It’s apparent from reviews by some industry players that the application was rushed and smuggled, with so many basic, needless flaws.

President Akufo-Addo launched the new National Digital Property Address System last Wednesday

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia had told Ghanaians the digital property address system would be better than what world giants, US and UK are using.

I was inclined to believe him because, after years of living under disappointing governments, it is only this new regime that has demonstrated the commitment to fulfilling its promises made to Ghanaians. It has been moving at full throttle since it was inaugurated and that’s what every government should do.

At the launch of the National Digital Property Address System in Accra last Wednesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo touched on how the app will help to transform the way businesses are transacted in the country.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

“Law enforcement agencies can easily access addresses more effectively in order to deal with crime,” an excited Akufo-Addo said.

He also noted the app will be central to the formalization of the economy, saying citizens who will be unable to provide a verified house address will not be issued with the new Ghana Card.

But I was to be disappointed after I downloaded the app, minutes after it was launched. I was fortunate, unlike others, to receive a validation code after keying in my phone number. But that was it. I wasn’t able to progress to the next stage because the app kept telling me, my location couldn’t be established.

App developers, Vokacom assured the citizens the GhanaPost GPS would be able to locate you wherever you are in the country, even in River Oti.

But it couldn’t tell where I was at Dansoman in Accra.

It’s exactly one week since the app was launched. Statistics on the Android market have revealed the app had been downloaded 100,000 times, with 1,100 reviews.

While some lauded government for the app, the majority of the people were dissatisfied with it.

One Agyei Emmanuel wrote, “It’s perfect! I wonder how people do complain about this app. In fact, everything works perfectly immediately I downloaded and logged in. It’s very helpful and I commend it to every Ghanaian citizen.”

To Joseph Amankwa, “Bad or good, this app is here to stay. They don’t have to get it right at first anyway. Relax, go outside and get your coordinates and keep quiet until it is updated.”

But one Felix Ninyeh believes the app was rushed.

“After getting the address, saving it has become a problem…unfortunately, GhanaPost GPS has stopped working pops up anytime I try to save the address…Pls work on it,” he wrote.

Another Bright Foli also wrote, “The app can’t search for any location. Not so impressed with the alphabets used to identify since so many districts in the same region start with the alphabet. Pls, let’s jx copy what is done elsewhere ditto, ditto and not create a new complicated system.”

But Vice President of IMANI-Ghana, Bright Simons summarized this when he said the government could have allowed the app to be widely tested before going ahead with the launch.

“In fact, had Ghana Post done any focus group testing ahead of their rushed launch of the platform and then commissioned a UX review of the application, all these minor details would have been sorted out without hassle,” he wrote.

I think the $2.5 million spent on the app was overgenerous, especially when the app heavily relies on Google Maps.

Vokacom didn’t build a Web Mapping but rather incorporated what is available and used by other developers across the world.

The IT Company has the same app on the Android market, which is free. So it beats me why we couldn’t use that one or improve on it to serve the same purpose.

Why should the government pay for an app that is already free? The government needs to answer this question.

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Disclaimer:

The author, Austin Brakopowers is a Broadcast journalist at Joy99.7 and views expressed here are exclusively his and do not reflect the position of the Multimedia Group Limited or Myjoyonline.com. You can reach him via Brakomen@outlook.com

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