Wednesday, July 30, 2008
A group of Ghanaian journalists have taken the communication minister Dr. Aggrey Ntim to task, over the sale of state-owned Ghana Telecom to British private telecommunication operator, Vodafone. At a meet-the-press series in Accra, the journalists slammed the minister over government’s intention to offload 70% shares in the national asset to a foreign private company at a cost of US$900 million.
Dr. Aggrey Ntim in his speech earlier emphasized government’s determination to sell the national asset so as to recapitalize and ensure enhanced technology to provide quality service to Ghanaians. But journalists were emotionally charged with such an explanation and bombarded him with tough questions.
Their questions hinged around security of Ghanaians if strategic asset like Ghana Telecom was sold to foreigners, while others wanted to know why the government was interested in selling almost every national asset.
Meanwhile parliament was yet to ratify the sale agreement while political parties have warned government to refrain from selling Ghana Telecom.The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government has attempted to sell Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), all national assets but backed out after intense pressure from civil society organisations.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Following the introduction of the e-zwich common platform and biometric smartcard, and the passage of Ghana’s Anti-Money Laundering and the Credit Reporting Acts, the Bank of Ghana has issued additional Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines to banks and savings and loans companies.
With effect from September 1, 2008, all new personal customers of banks and savings and loan companies must be issued with an e-zwich smartcard as part of the KYC process. Also, e-zwich smartcards must be issued to all existing personal customers by December 31st, 2008 as part of KYC procedures.
Furthermore, to make it easier for the unbanked to open bank accounts, under the new guidelines account opening procedures for people who engage in low value transactions (i.e. below GH¢ 10,000) no longer require proof of residence such as a utility bills. While such proof is desirable, it is no longer obligatory unless where the bank considers otherwise. In any case these customers should be issued with e-zwich smartcards.
In addition to all the other benefits of using the e-zwich smartcard, these measures will eliminate identity fraud in the banking system because the fingerprints of individual customers on the e-zwich smartcard are unique.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The Chairman f the Campaign team of NPP Flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, Jake Obetsebi Otanka Lamptey on Republic Day took time off his busy schedule to to interact with journalists in Accra. Mr Obetsebi Lamptey who is well known for his cmpetence as an astute politician in the politics of Ghana thrilled media men and women with facts about the current developments within the New Partroitic Party with regards to their primaries, campaign strategies, in-house tribal fighting and other pressing issues that the journalist would like to have first hand information.
With him at the NPP CLUB HOUSE during the interaction were some members of the campaign team of Nana Akuffo Addo including Mr. Kwabena Agyapong and others.
Below are pix from the venue ground.
A two-day West Africa ICT Road Map to Opportunities Conference, is underway in Accra to discuss regional market creation and cross border co-operation on wireless technologies. The conference on the theme: "West Africa ICT Road Map to Opportunities," which attracted participants from West Africa and other global partners would examine the application of ICT in the areas of e-commerce and e-Government within the Sub-Region. Government, US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the US Department of State, organised the conference, which was opened by Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
Vice President Mahama observed that the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's), in West Africa, would be a mirage if ICT do not play an integral part. He said the MDG's are time-bound and there were challenges associated with the objectives, hence the need for stakeholders in ICT in the Sub-Region to shy away from mere rhetoric's and be proactive to achieve results. "The quest for rapid socio-economic development in our part of the world does not allow us the luxury of conference talk with little action."Vice President Mahama said the promotion of the Information Society would require substantial investments in terms of financial, technological and human resources. He noted that although West Africa possesses enormous investment potential for the deployment of ICT for development, there is minimal cross-border ICT infrastructure that would provide the expected impact for development."In fact, we are still confronted with the phenomenon of passing our telephone and Internet traffic through the developed countries of Europe and America to the West African Sub-Region." Vice President Mahama called for global assistance to enable Ghana to pursue the Digital Freedom Initiative to facilitate services such as Internet connectivity.He said Ghana and other West Africa countries lacked financial resources to improve on problems like ICT capacity building programmes and specialised training for policy makers and regulators, connectivity for ICT services and applications in remote areas. Dr. Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, Minister of Communications expressed the need for the expansion of access to ICT in West Africa in order to facilitate economic competitiveness.Mr. David Gross, US Co-ordinator for ICT Policy, noted that, the US had exceeded its financial commitment to Africa and also shown the way to boost the economic growth of the Continent. Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of International Telecommunication Union said Africa was leading the way in embracing ICT which he described as positive news that deviated from the negative news of wars and conflicts.He expressed the need for concerted efforts to confront cyber crime, which is undermining public confidence in ICT. Ms. Leocadia Zak, Deputy Director of USTDA said her outfit had committed 745,000 dollars in support of ICT projects in Liberia and Niger.The first grant will fund an assessment for the Liberian Telecommunications Corporation for the technical and financial viability of the proposed metropolitan fibre optic ring around Liberia. The second grant will support a separate study for Seaquest Info Tel of Niger on the National ICT backbone. 09 July 08