Cybersecurity Fund to be introduced in 2019 budget – Finance Minister

Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister

Finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has revealed that government would be introducing yet another fund- the Cybersecurity Fund, as part of the 2019 budget, to ensure that there is enough funding for the cybersecurity setup in the country.

This follows the President’s assurance on Monday that government would provide the needed funding for the cybersecurity setup in the country, to ensure a safe information technological ecosystem.

Addressing delegates at the climax week of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Accra, on Wednesday, Ofori-Atta said it is a shared responsibility between users and government to protect the nation, adding: “we would like to launch a cybersecurity fund, in which we have to seed it, to show the seriousness.”

Cybercrime Loss

He noted that statistics from the Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) indicates that, in 2016 Ghana had lost about US$25.8 million, with US$8.4 million in the form business compromises. The 2017 estimates put the loss at US$ 69 million.

Estimates further shows that as at August this year, Ghana had lost US$97 million due to Cybercrime. This is an indication of increasing cybercrime incidence.

However, most of these cybercrime cases are often not reported and the country does not have an active setup to calculate such losses.

“I don’t think I have an option, but to really create that fund so that, we can really begin to get creative on protecting our future and making sure that the whole idea of Ghana becoming the regional hub for trade, tourism and information technology (IT) is then backed by our commitment to protect investors and ourselves,” the minister said.

He insisted that the amount of money the country expects to spend in digitizing the economy, should justify the need to find resources as required.

Mobile Money

Citing the use of mobile money, Ofori –Atta said that, transactions worth about GHS79 billion was carried out in 2016, which grew to nearly 156 billion in 2017, representing a significant growth of almost double.

Currently the total registered mobile money accounts across the three major telcos have outstripped the country’s total population.

The latest data from Bank of Ghana’s payment system shows that the registered number of mobile money accounts increased to 29.99 million in June 2018 from 21.36 million recorded in June 2017, representing an increase of 40.40 percent over a one-year period.

To this end, industry estimates show that 50 percent of the mobile money subscribers have either experienced fraud or are targets for fraudsters.

By Joshua W. Amlanu