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Business News of Monday, 27 April 2020


Calling for suspension of CST during coronavirus pandemic risky – Ursula Owusu

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister

Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has revealed that suspending Communications Service Tax (CST) like other utility bills will be risky for Ghanaians as cybercrime has increased by 40 per cent due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

She said, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the traffic and activities online to commit more cybercrimes hence the need to build more cybersecurity rather than calling for a suspension of CST.

According to the Ursula Owusu, the danger will only leave Ghanaians in the hands of cybercriminals in addition to coronavirus which is more costly to recover.

Speaking on Good Morning Ghana, the Communication Minster said, “Reason, why CST was increased was to provide funding for cybersecurity, now as we are doing more work online it has become even more imperative that we build up our cyber defences. So the question I asked last Friday in an interview is we have a choice, we can suspend it and suspend our cybersecurity infrastructure we are putting in place as well. We leaving ourselves to the mercy of cybercriminals is that what we want?”

She added, “We are doing more online banking, lot more companies are working virtually so they are virtual meetings, sending and receiving communications online and yes we are also setting up a system to allow public workers to also work virtually it’s called the Smart workplace, we will also provide free software for tertiary students and teachers as well. We need to build security around this systems so if you say we should suspend the collection of CST then we say alright free for all…”

To this end, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful further reiterated that this is not the time to let guards down because it may cost the country more to recover from a cyber-attack in addition to coronavirus than the available capacity.

“But you have to look at the flip side of it as well, what is the danger that is going to be occasioned to all of us if that move is made. We don’t want to be sitting here and it takes just a click not 3 months for the cyber criminals to hit and there is been a 40 percent increase in some cyber-crime worldwide since this pandemic started so they are taking the advantage of the fact that a lot more traffic is going online so all of us are doing a lot more with our devices, with data than we were doing previously, so we are more exposed. I think this is the time we even need to tighten our cyber defenses and we are working on that.”