Editorial: Cyber security Act to stem risks in cybercrime


In view of security and data breaches across the globe by cybercriminals, government has taken a bold step to confront the increasing and obvious risks which the state faces by enacting the cybersecurity act 2020, Act 1038.

The Act is to regulate cyber issues and also empower the Authority with the right framework and resources to regulate the cyberspace of Ghana.

Global cybercrime costs are predicted to increase by 15 percent per year over the next five years, reaching US$10.5trillion annually by 2025 – rising from US$3trillion in 2015. This is despite the fact that statistics for Ghana-related cybercrime remains unclear.

Conservative estimates put the figure at close to US$100million dollars, and this clearly signals a concern for the cybersecurity development agenda.

A well-structured approach to incidence-reporting and response procedures will help in calculating a more factual cost of cybercrimes to the state and business organisations.

As the country pursues its digital transformation agenda with more and more service providers going online, provision of cybersecurity measures has become paramount. It is crucial that businesses and institutions are provided with more secure digital infrastructure, data protection and privacy, in order to protect their assets from threats.

Digital transformation is powered by technology, and it comes with a cost and inherent risks. Even as the nation’s cyber ecosystem matures steadily, demand for cybersecurity solutions become even more pronounced.

Ghanaians, therefore, look forward to the full commissioning and operation of the cybersecurity Authority to spearhead cybersecurity policies and standards in Ghana.

According to (www.varonis.com data-breach-statistics), there have been over 300 data breaches involving the theft of 100,000 or more records – which exposed 4.1 billion records in the first six months of 2019.

Digital investments in this regard are essential to insulate institutions and businesses from cyber risks and attacks.

As cyber espionage grows rapidly within various sectors which have access to various confidential data, handling money electronically or digitisation of the financial sector ‘fin-tech’ has revolutionised the way customers transact business or economic activities within the financial ecosystem.

Corporate leaders such as CEOs, boards of directors along with Key stakeholders and decision-makers must create programmes to identify cyber risk and have bullet-proof mitigating strategies to combat attacks on the cyber front.

Risk of debt-distress looms…

The country’s public debt is projected to hit 83.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by end of the year, the IMF has observed.

This calls for caution, since the country is in the basket of economies at high risk of debt-distress and IMF data show the country’s gross public debt hit 78.9 percent of GDP in 2020 – contrary to the 76.1 percent reported by the Summary of Economic and Financial data.

This has further compounded efforts by government to revive and recover various pandemic-hit sectors of the economy. The IMF is therefore urging government to put in place robust macroeconomic structures which will ensure fiscal consolidation in order to avert that fate.

The IMF notes that while there are encouraging signs of an economic recovery, it remains uneven across sectors.

The multilateral institution directors stressed the importance of entrenching prudent macroeconomic policies, ensuring debt sustainability, and pressing ahead with structural reforms to deliver a sustainable, inclusive and green economic recovery.

That said, the IMF projects the economy to rebound strongly to 4.7 percent in 2021; and this the Fund says is supported by a strong cocoa season, mining and services activity. The new wave of the pandemic is bound to put more pressure on the economy, though government’s digitisation drive and structural transformation are key to its recovery.

Besides the high public debt, the fiscal deficit – including energy and financial sector costs – worsened to 15.2 percent of GDP, with a further 2.1 percent of GDP in additional spending financed through the accumulation of domestic arrears, the report stated.

Directors also encouraged a timely completion for the planned audit of COVID-19 emergency spending and new expenditure arrears.

The IMF believes the country’s digitsation drive will reduce corruption, enhance service delivery and boost revenue in these trying economic times for several government agencies – like the ports, NHIA, passport application, drivers’ licences and registration of businesses, among others.

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