General News of Tuesday, 23 October 2018
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissioned the National Communications Authority’s (NCA) Computer Emergence Response Team and the Revenue Assurance and Traffic Monitoring Centre, also known as Common Platform, in Accra yesterday.
He described the two projects as “essential building blocks for the realisation of the government’s vision of a digitised Ghana”.
“They represent key milestones in our nation’s journey towards becoming well-resourced, self-reliant, efficient and secure within the context of cyberspace, telecommunications traffic management and revenue assurance,” the President added.
The Computer Emergence Response Team responds to computer security incidents, reports on vulnerabilities and promotes effective IT security practices within the National Communications Authority and the industry, while the Assurance and Traffic Monitoring Centre, also know as Common Platform, is a monitoring platform established by the ministries of Communications and Finance to assure government’s revenue in the telecoms industry.
President Akufo-Addo commended the NCA and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for taking steps to guarantee government revenue and also ensuring that regulators and telecommunication operators worked together to that end.
President Akufo-Addo said the government had spent the past 21 months in office implementing a number of initiatives aimed at driving the country’s digitisation agenda.
“It is critical that we deploy the appropriate instruments to secure our nation, our people, our businesses and our way of life,” he said.
In the execution of the protocols for the Computer Emergence Response Team and the Revenue Assurance and Traffic Monitoring Centre, the President indicated that “we should see to the transfer of knowledge to enhance learning and the acquisition of skills by Ghanaians to man this project”.
President Akufo-Addo said the two projects fitted directly into the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The creation of a state-of-the-art, well-resourced cybersecurity response centre, such as the NCA-CERT, is key to attaining some of these goals. We have committed ourselves to building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation, so that we can attain Goal Number Nine, which addresses three important aspects of sustainable development: infrastructure, industrialisation and innovation,” the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo urged players in the economy, such as those in the energy, transport and utility sectors, to collaborate with the National Cyber Security Centre to develop their computer emergency response units.
“As we commission these two essential facilities, I am charging the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, through the Minister of Finance, to continue to develop and roll out new and innovative ways to broaden Ghana’s tax net,” he stated.
He congratulated the board, management and staff of the NCA and the GRA and their respective ministers on a good job done.
“The work has just begun and I trust that with the investments made in both human resource and infrastructure, we will see the results of these soon,” President Akufo-Addo added.
The $89m contract will allow Kelni GVG, a Haitian ICT company, to operate a common platform that includes the NCA and the GRA by connecting the entire switch of the physical network nodes of telecommunication operators in the country.
The programme is expected to improve revenue mobilisation for the government and also check simbox fraud in the telecommunications sector.
But the contract was criticised by policy think tank, IMANI Africa.
The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, however, defended the contract, explaining that it would effectively deal with revenue losses in the telecommunication industry and also check simbox fraud.
According to her, the contract also had greater value for money, compared to previous contracts.