President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged a concerted effort to protect Ghana’s cyber architecture, saying the West African nation is not immune to cyber-attacks as is being witnessed across the world.
The President made the observation in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery at the closing ceremony of the 2019 Cybersecurity Month in Accra.
In his speech, the President made references to recent cyber attacks in the city of Baltimore, United States of America; Bulgaria, in Europe, and Johannesburg in South Africa, and observed the devastations caused to businesses and citizens due to the attacks.
According to him, “we are not immune to these attacks and our reliance of ICT moving forward will leave our Critical National Information Infrastructure susceptible to attacks if precautionary measures are not instituted.”
He called for key measures already put in place by his administration to be sustained, saying that all these measures are necessary because according to the World Economic Forum, economic loss due to cybercrime is predicted to reach $3 trillion by 2020 and 74% of the world’s businesses can expect to be hacked in the coming year.
Indeed, he noted, examples of such attacks abound as countries around the world experience incidents of cybercrime.
For the second time in just over a year, the city of Baltimore in the United States, was hit by a ransomware attack, affecting its computer network and forcing officials to shut down a majority of its computer servers as a precaution, he added.
The President explained that in July this year, Bulgaria, a country with a population of 7 million became the target of a cybercrime that led to the biggest breach in its history, compromising the systems of its National Revenue Authority and leaking the National Identification Numbers of 5 million adult citizens.
“This in turn released records on revenues, tax, and social security payments dating as far back as 2007. News of such incidents are not endemic to Europe and the Americas alone,” he said.
He added that right here on the African continent, residents in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, were left in the dark for hours after the city’s power company got attacked by a ransomware virus which prevented prepaid customers from buying electricity units, uploading invoices when making payments or accessing the City’s official power website.
These attacks, according to him, have serious implications on national security as the development of ICT in the world’s digitally driven economies has created problems that intrinsically relates to national security.
The use of the internet and cyberspace for criminal offending including the use of ICTs for terrorist communications, the use of darkweb to facilitate drug trade and illicit sales of weapons, the use of internet for human trafficking based recruitment as well as other malicious use of ICT are critical concerns to the security and stability of the economic, social and political order, globally, according to Mr. Akufo-AddoAddo.
To secure Ghana’s digital journey therefore, he said, his Government has tasked the National Cyber Security Centre, through the Ministry of Communications, to ensure the security of Ghana’s digital space.
” I am reliably informed, that Ghana’s National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) have been reviewed to reflect current cybersecurity developments and are consistent with international best practices. The NCPS, which covers a 5 year period, will provide the national direction towards enhancing cybersecurity in Ghana,” he said.
He added that a priority area of this Policy and Strategy is capacity Building and awareness creation which will build on what the Ministry of Communications begun about two and half years ago.
Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, called for the scaling up of cybersecurity awareness and investment in Ghana.
The move, she said, is critical to protecting the country’s cyber architecture and citizens.
She expressed the hope that in the 2020 Budget, the Finance Minister would make a concrete statement about the Cybersecurity Fund.
The National Cybersecurity Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, in his welcome remarks, observed that the next steps of Ghana’s cybersecurity journey will not be complete without addressing the issue of financing.
According to him, across the developed and developing world, states have established sustainable financing mechanisms to fund their cybersecurity development.
He revealed that the United Kingdom (UK) was investing about £ 1.9 billion, starting from 2016 to 2021 to fund its national cybersecurity strategy.
Nigeria, he said, has introduced a levy on electronic transactions, representing 0.005 percent of all electronic transmission, to fund its Cybersecurity.
“Togo, has established a sovereign cybersecurity fund with contributions from telecommunication service operators based on their annual revenue,” he said.
SONA2020: Teachers to be granted professional allowance – Prez. Akuffo Addo
In the educational aspect of President Akuffo Addo’s State Of the Nation’s Address (SONA), he addressed that, “all plans, all hopes, all expectations for a brighter tomorrow will only come to fruition if they can guarantee an educated and skilled workforce”. He also expressed on how education has been their priority pinpointing to the national budget as a reference to his speculation.
“Mr. Speaker, A look at the national budget gives a clear indication of where our priority lies and it is with education”.
In respect to the chalk and board fraternity, thus the teaching fraternity, the address highlighted on the restoration of teacher trainee allowances. It again highlighted some achievements chalked in the teaching fraternity which are; employment of sixty-seven thousand (67,000) teachers, tier-2 pension funds of teachers have been paid, the three-year backlog of non-promotion of teachers have been cleared. “We have abandoned the three-month pay policy inherited for newly-recruited teachers and cleared 92% of the legacy arrears”. His address stated.
The address again went on to say that the research and book allowances that were cancelled have been restored and his government have agreed to grant teachers a professional allowance.
“We want the teachers to accept that they hold our destinies in their hands”.
UDS NAVRONGO CAMPUS PUTTING ON A NEW FACE- INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENTS MANIFESTING
On Tuesday 14th of January, 2020, the SRC president took upon his WhatsApp status expressing his joy on the ongoing renovation and the “massive infrastructure development”.
His excellency the SRC president Raymond Oviti is nationwide known for his fight for the school fees reduction. This was mainly because, the intended purpose of some slashes in the school fees were not realized.
Through series of dialogue and displeasure of students through demonstration, the administration came into terms with the leadership of the SRC.
The SRC Public relations officer, Mr Ishmael told the student populace through a circular stating that, the administration asked for a little time to improve upon the infrastructures and other pressing issues of concern.
KING WORDI BUSINESS CENTRE has opened a new shop just beside kokotu. They have in stock various soft drinks and bottled water.
True to their words, the administration has started with and ongoing developments as they have promised. Among the ongoing renovation include the NH1 lecture halls and completion of the school library.
The SRC president is hopeful that, the developments as they have promised, will be completed before the end of the second trimester as the auditorium, FAS block and others are in line.
Private Varsities Want Autonomy
The Private Universities Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) has called on government to make private universities autonomous.
At the handover ceremony of the newly elected executives of PUSAG, which was under the theme: “Academic Freedom: Ensuring the Autonomous and Effective Running of Private Universities,” the Minister of State for Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, gave an assurance that the autonomy issue was being looked at by Parliament.
He said government was determined to take measures to rule out the outmoded affiliation system.
He indicated that government was making plans to remove all barriers that limit the ability of private tertiary institutions to become more effective and also put the private institutions on the same status as the public universities. “The new policy introduces measures that seek to make the private universities autonomous,” he affirmed.
Later in an interview, Prof. Yankson added that the new policy would award licence to private universities after three years of operation, depending on the number of years the university has been in existence and the facilities they have to operate with if they become autonomous.
“Licence will be awarded to private universities that can operate on their own in terms of facilities and professionalism of lecturers,” he said. The Chief Executive Officer of Joy for Fame, John Obiri Yeboah, who was a guest speaker, said the existence of private tertiary institution had helped in the development of the country and promised to support PUSAG to become effective.
The past National President of PUSAG, Charles Opoku, mentioned that private universities cannot continue to have their ‘competitors’ as their ‘masters’ and called on government to provide a five-year road map to give autonomy to private universities. He used the opportunity to outline some of the successes of his administration.
The newly elected President of PUSAG, Alswel Annan, called on management of private universities to admit more students.
Nana Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso I, who chaired the function, advised the newly elected executives to stay focused and not dabble in unnecessary partisan politics.
“Don’t let any politician to use you; never be moved by what you see and hear but by the spirit,” he advised.