The National Cybersecurity Advisor, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, has refuted claims that the 9% Communication Service Tax (CST) levy on communication services will be used to fund cybersecurity for the banking sector and Telecommunication providers.
Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako insisted that the charges will instead be used to facilitate the fight against cybercrime threatening Ghana’s digital economy through the Ghana’s National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS).
“Government is not going to use the CST, as far as my knowledge on the subject matter is concerned, to fund cybersecurity for the banks and telcos. The government is going to use the CST, which constitutes only a fraction of the funding requirements, to finance the implementation of the Ghana’s National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS).”
Ghana lost a whopping $77 million to cyber fraud in 2019 and according to the cybersecurity expert, cyber-attacks will escalate in the coming years, given the increase in Internet penetration and the massive reliance on ICT devices for transactions.
This means that a successful infiltration of data systems and platforms in the country will not only undermine confidence in the country’s digitisation measures but also have detrimental impacts on the economic activities of individuals.
Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako was speaking at the Formal Opening of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2019 at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
This year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month was to demonstrate the gains made over the past two and half years and also to discuss the next steps on Ghana’s journey to secure the country’s digital ecosystem.
Addressing stakeholders at the conference, he stated that the introduction of a sustainable mechanism for funding cybersecurity by the government, is therefore “not a new phenomenon in responding to the current and anticipated threats targeting Ghana’s digital economy.”
He indicated that the public’s narrative on the subject especially in the media has largely been built around misinformation and misunderstanding of the noble intent of this particular government action.
“It is therefore disappointing to note that, none of the dissenting voices against the increase in Comunications Service Tax have actually come out with alternative models and proposals to fund Ghana’s cybersecurity.” He noted.
Cybercrime is costing governments and organisations across the world million in damages every year. With ransomware on the rise and hacker attacks becoming more and more sophisticated.
Interior Minister Ambrose Dery, in a keynote address on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo, stated that funding cybersecurity has been a key problem hence announced plans for the establishment of a Cybersecurity Fund to facilitate the development of the country’s cybersecurity ecosystem.
The Fund will cater for research and development, capacity building for public officials and support for businesses, including Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).