Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has announced that in line with international industry best practices, government will soon establish a cyber security fund to effectively protect Ghana’s cyber space.
Addressing participants at a workshop as part of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Mr. Ofori-Atta said that the fund will help safeguard the country against the menace of cyber-attacks.
He explained that as the country scales up e.commerce, it will certainly bring about an upsurge in criminal activity, and that if we fail to put in place precautionary measures to forestall such activities “we will have no one to blame”.
He added: “We should not wait until there is a problem before we do something. We don’t have any other option. We have to protect our future.
“The increasing rate of digitisation should make us really sit up and understand the consequences of our actions. And as Ghanaians, we cannot get away with the downsides of technology; we need to protect ourselves,” he further explained.
Establishing a cyber security fund will go a long way to show our seriousness, the minister noted.
With the rise in ‘419’ – social media and mobile money fraud – threats on remittances, cloned sites, he indicated, this could create problems for the country; hence the need to analyse the impact of such activities on the economy.
He cited the example of a cost analysis done by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police, which revealed that the economy lost about GH¢25.8million to cyber fraud and about GH¢8.4million in business email compromises in 2016; while some GH¢69 million was lost in 2017.
“This is a shared responsibility,” he said, adding that “we need to have a shared responsibility as users of technology and as those who benefit from it; and then government’s responsibility is to protect the nation.
“If you look at the banking industry, say the capital market or the stock exchange alone, it is about GH¢69billion in terms of market cap; and the bond market is about two or three times higher. So, you can imagine what will happen if somebody penetrates that whole ecosystem,” he noted.
He therefore urged industry stakeholders, including securities market players, asset managers, brokers, bankers and the transmission belt – telcos, to be a part of the process.
He said through such collaborations, all stakeholders in Ghana will be able to receive funds, among others, to support prosecution and investigation of cyber-crimes – adding that government is determined to provide the necessary funding to help curb cybercrime.