Residents of Nabdam schooled on mobile money scams, misinformation

The emerging nature of the media space, aided by the advancement of technology and an extensive improvement of networks by telecommunications industries in various regions, is contributing to mobile money fraud and misinformation.

The impact of these on individuals, electoral bodies, health governing bodies, and countries has been well established, with non-literates being the most vulnerable.

Madam Rita Kologmah Yenborah, a non-literate mother of two, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that mobile money fraud had taken a toll on her life, rendering her unemployed, and she was struggling to cater for her children.

‘My daughter, who was in Senior High School, had called to inform me that she wasn’t feeling well, and so I promised to send her money in the evening. A few minutes later, a call came through, and I was told my daughter was rushed to the hospital and they were demanding GHS2,000.00,’ she narrated.

?’With what she told me earlier, I was convinced by the numerous calls in demand of the money, and th
e fact that I could not reach her again even got me more worried. I had GHS1,500.00, which was all for my small business, and I borrowed GHS500 in addition, only for it to turn out not to be true after sending the money.’

The story of Yenborah is not an isolated case, as many have lost thousands of cedis through mobile money scams.

It is against this background that Mr Charles Bugre, a PhD candidate of the Washington Information School, United States of America, has engaged selected non-literates on mobile money fraud and digital misinformation at the Logre Community in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.?

The two-day engagement formed part of his research work, titled: ‘Examining illiteracy and misinformation in Africa.’

It is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of how people with no or low literacy detect and respond to misinformation while offering evidence on whether illiteracy, the inability to read or write in any language, makes individuals more susceptible to misinformation or not.

The research also focused on providing evidence on how people with no or low levels of literacy assess the trustworthiness of information and who their key influencers are while contributing to the scarcity of research on strategies to curb misinformation for this category of people.

This, among other objectives, he said, was to identify educational intervention guidelines suggested by the targeted population for inclusive digital literacy and improve their skill to respond to misinformation messages in ways that would not be detrimental to themselves or the larger society.?

While exposing the participants to manipulated images, videos, out-of-context information, and mobile money scams, which they identified as their biggest threat, with some of them being victims, Mr?Bugre urged them to be guarded and cautious about the information they consumed, as all of it was not true.

Mr Abongo Atanga, a participant, said the workshop had exposed him to many issues he was not aware of and going forward, he would be
guided by what he had learned.

‘Day in and day out, we are being scammed, and that is because these scammers are using different strategies to dupe us, but with this engagement, my eyes have now been opened to a lot of things,’ he said.

‘And I want to thank Charles for this lifesaving gesture because we have lost a lot through these scams and the anxiety is always too much to bear.’ ?

Madam Cynthia Naya, another participant, noted that though she knew about Photoshop, she was fascinated to learn that videos could be doctored to look as though they were real.

‘The education on MoMo scams really stood out for me, and now I don’t think they can easily lure me with their tactics again.’?

Source: Ghana News Agency

Third Edition of Sisaali and English Dictionary launched in Tumu

Professor Issah Samuel Alhassan, the Dean of the Faculty of Ghanaian Language Education at the College of Education, Winneba has urged parents to make it prestigious for their children to embrace and speak the local language.

‘We must make accessible linguistic input in the language of their identity,’ he said.

Professor Alhassan said language was the bridge that connected people to their past and paved the way for the future.

He was addressing the launch of the third edition of the Sisaali English Dictionary at Tumu.

It was organised by the Sissala Literacy Development (SILAP) in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT).

It was attended by Directors of Education, representatives of the Members of Parliament, the Sissala East Assembly, chiefs and the public.

He said Language carried the essence of a people, their values, beliefs, and traditions, and the medium through which people expressed their deepest thoughts, emotions and aspirations.

‘The Siss
ali language is not merely a means of communication; it is the embodiment of our collective identity, a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of our ancestors,’ he said.

He explained that for a group to abandon their language for any other prestigious language would be providing the enemy with a knife to cut the Sissala throat.

‘The launch of this dictionary is a salient move towards the preservation of the identity of the people, as dictionaries by themselves do not only present users with a list of words but it is a source of information on the socio-economic artefacts of the people to learn providing meaning of words, phrases, contextual meaning and the right pronunciation,’ he explained further.

He advised all to pass it on to future generations as a sacred trust by celebrating the beauty and power of the language, saying, ‘It is the lifeblood of the identity, the thread that binds together the people.’

He challenged all to work in diverse ways by investing in and deliberately transmitting the lan
guage in all sacred forms to children and grandchildren who are the forebears of the Sissali tribe.

Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton, the Paramount Chief of the Tumu Traditional Council, promised to support the learning of Sisaali language development at the tertiary level and urged every parent to buy a book each for their ward.

Mr Moses Luri, a lecturer, at the University College of Education, who led the discussion on ‘The Teaching and Learning of Sisaali in the Basic Schools: Prospects and the way Forward,’ congratulated the key stakeholders for the tremendous efforts made to write the Dictionary.

Mr Luri called on the government to make the study of Ghanaian language a compulsory subject and not an elective, saying, ‘I still disagree with the current situation, where Ghana Education Service (GES) has directed Regional and District Directors of Education to make Ghanaian language an elective but not mandatory.

‘If only one subject must be taught in our Ghanaian schools, then it must be the Ghanaian languag
e, it makes you a Ghanaian apart from all the above arguments,’ he stressed.

He called for efforts to be made in the short term to seek approval from GES- National Curriculum Accreditation Authority (NACCA) for the teaching, learning and examination of Sisaali at all levels of Education in the Sissala communities.

The unveiling of the book was done by Professor Abdul-Mumin Selanwiah Salifu, the Principal of the Tumu College of Education.

An initial sale of the Dictionary yielded GHS3200.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Support contractors to deliver quality work – Roads Minister to beneficiary communities

Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, the Minister for Roads and Highways, has implored beneficiary communities of road projects to support the contractors to deliver quality work.

He said it was important for members of such communities to avoid putting impediments in the ways of contractors to potentially delay or compromise the quality of work.

Mr Asenso-Boakye was speaking after inspecting the progress of work on the Bonwire-Antoa-Abira-Abirem road, as part of his inspection tour of ongoing road projects in the Ashanti Region.

‘In other areas, contractors will bring equipment and materials for road construction and before you say jack, some community members have stolen the items,’ the Minister said.

He said such behaviour was inimical to nation building and urged communities along the stretch to refrain for engaging in such practices, but rather back the contractors to execute a good job.

Mr Asenso-Boakye described that stretch as a critical section of the road network in Ashanti Region which passed through a v
ery important traditional town known for its quality Kente.

‘This road connects trunk roads in the region and those trucks that are moving goods from the harbour to the north using the Mampong side of the stretch do not have to go through the city centre,’ he stated.

He applauded Kofi Job Construction for doing a great job so far, saying that the company was making a strong case for local contractors in terms of the delivery of quality work.

The Minister who was in the company of other officials of the Ministry and the Ghana Highway Authority, also inspected the Santasi-Apire-Bebu-Ampabame road.

The road which for many years had been a source of discomfort for residents due to its bad nature had been asphalted and users could be seen rejoicing when the team arrived to inspect it.

Some of them openly expressed their appreciation to the government for fixing the road which they described as a nightmare.

The Minister ended his inspection tour at the Manso enclave where he inspected several projects includi
ng the 17-kilometre Mim Junction-Manso Adubea-Kumpese road.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Individuals, businesses to have tax amnesty in 2025 under my government – Dr Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, has reiterated that businesses and individuals will have a clean tax slate under his Presidency in 2025, to usher in a new tax system.

During his maiden address to the nation as flagbearer of the NPP, Dr Bawumia announced that his government would introduce a new friendly tax regime aimed at boosting businesses and making the private sector competitive.

At a stakeholder interaction with members of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Accra, Dr Bawumia underscored the need for a new tax regime to aid his vision of carrying the private sector along, if he becomes President in 2025.

‘Our tax system has been the same since independence and it has not helped us so we have to change it,’ he said.

‘We are going to have a new tax system. It is going to be a flat tax system to ensure competitiveness and business friendliness. To usher in the new tax regime, there will be tax amnesty for individuals and businesses 2025
under my Government.’

‘It will be a clean slate for everyone for us to start afresh,’ said the Vice President, amidst cheers from the business community.

As part of Dr Bawumia’s new tax system, he also stated that beginning 2025, under his Presidency, there will be no longer human interface in tax audits.

‘We are also going to have a faceless tax audit to prevent harassment of businesses and corruption. And audit of any company cannot be more than once in five years unless there is a reason. This is what other countries are doing,’ he added.

‘My vision is to make Ghana one of the most tax competitive countries in the world. I have studied many tax systems and recently, I went to Estonia, which is one of the most digitised and competitive tax countries in the world, to study their tax system. I believe it is possible for us to achieve that in Ghana and even be better.

The NPP Flagbearer also reietreated his pledge to abolish a few taxes as President, including taxes on electronic financial transactions.

‘I will abolish certain taxes like the e-levy as I have said, because we want to encourage a cashless system.’

For importers, Dr Bawumia also committed to his pledge of instituting a flat rate for the importation of spare parts as well as benchmarking Ghana’s port charges with Togo, to be competitive.

‘We can even be lower, to make Ghana the most competitive,’ he assured.

The Chamber, while making some suggestions to Dr Bawumia, commended him for his policies, and welcome, especially, his new tax regime of flat tax and tax amnesty for businesses and individuals, as well as his pledge to make the private sector the driving force of the Ghanaian economy.

Source: Ghana News Agency

National Labour Commission directs teachers to call off strike

The National Labour Commission (NLC) has directed three teacher unions – Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana, to call off their declared industrial action.

A statement signed by the NLC’s Chairperson, Justice Kwabena Asuman-Adu, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the declaration by the unions was not in compliance with Section 159 of Act 651.

The statement, therefore, urged the unions to rescind their decision.

The three teacher unions announced that they would start a nationwide strike on March 20, 2024, over working conditions.

They said their action was motivated by the government’s inability to distribute laptop computers to all teachers, the frequent changes to the school calendar without prior consultation with them, and the Office of Special Prosecutor’s blockage of their wages.

‘In the light of the above circumstances and given the delays and unfulfilled promises we the Pre-tertiary Teacher Unions d
o hereby declare a nationwide strike effective today, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, to press home our demands,’ they said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Galamsey: Stakeholders call for drastic, coordinated action to save water situation

Stakeholders in the water sector have warned of more severe consequences including the importation of water and the looming spread of acute diseases if the illegal mining (galamsey) in waterbodies is allowed to fester.

They cautioned that the reckless destruction and indiscriminate pollution of major waterbodies with lethal chemicals through the galamsey menace had reached alarming rates and was undermining efforts to provide potable water to the populace.

They have, consequently, called for more drastic and coordinated actions through multi-stakeholder collaborations to clamp down on the crisis before Ghana experienced the worst.

This came to light at a workshop organised jointly by the Ghana Water Limited (GWL) and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on the back of GWL’s recent operational challenges induced by galamsey.

The participants included the Environmental Protection Agency, Water Resource Commission, Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PU
RC), Coalition of NGOS in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), chiefs, journalists and researchers.

Dr Clifford Braimah, the Managing Director of GWL, in an address delivered on his behalf, painted a gloomy picture at the company’s Sekyere Hemang and Daboase treatment plants due to high pollution of the Pra River.

He said galamsey activities had muddied the water, raising its turbidity to abnormal levels, reducing the volumes of inflow, and forcing them to cut down operations by 30 per cent.

The situation had resulted in high operational costs as they were paying more for electricity, maintenance and treatment chemicals, he said, and that some communities, including Cape Coast and Elmina, were facing acute water shortage.

The Sekyere Hemang treatment plant was designed in 2008 to withstand a maximum turbidity of 500NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units) while that of Daboase was designed in 1969 to deal with a turbidity of 54NTU.

But the average turbidity recorded recently is 8,000NTU.

The company said it had a
record 13,000NTU last Tuesday, which dropped to 11,000NTU on Wednesday, March 20, at which point it should have shut down but for some new chemicals.

Between 2008 and 2003, GWL had spent more than GHS4 million to replace the original pumps at the Sekyere Hemang Treatment Plant alone, which should have lasted 25 years, Dr Brimah said.

Considering the challenges, he said it was crucial to collectively address the root causes to protect water resources for both present and future generations.

‘This requires close collaboration between our law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies, with maximum cooperation and collaboration from local authorities to identify and dismantle illegal mining sites and prosecute those responsible for environmental degradation,’ he said.

‘This requires a multi-faceted approach encompassing robust regulatory frameworks, strict enforcement mechanisms, community engagements and sustainable resource management practices.’

Mr Seth Eric Atiapah, the Central Regional Chief Manager of
GWL, who spoke on the situation at Sekyere Hemang, attributed it to the lack of enforcement of the country’s laws.

Having lost 30 per cent of capacity already, he warned that they could lose more capacity if the destruction continued, saying water was becoming a scarce commodity.

‘If galamsey is not stopped, water supply to Sekondi-Takoradi, Cape Coast, Elmina and surrounding communities will be seriously challenged,’ he added.

‘The brazen display of mining machines on the waterbodies is as if it’s a showoff, it is done with disrespect and impunity. Sometimes you see them working and they ignore you as if you don’t matter,’ he observed.

To the extent that the high cost of treatment and health consequences affected everybody, Mr Atiapah said galamsay was everybody’s business and, therefore, appealed to all stakeholders, especially communities, chiefs and opinion leaders to support the fight.

He called for the enforcement and compliance of robust regulatory framework and environmental and mining laws.

f David Kofi Essumang, a Professor of the Chemistry Department, UCC, noted that Ghana’s water purification system did not completely take out poison introduced into the water and warned of health complications such as kidney problems.

He cautioned of dangerous times of water scarcity where Ghana could be importing water in 15 years if the status quo remained.

‘If we don’t make serious efforts to stop this menace, then in no time, we are going to lose all these waterbodies,’ he said.

‘If we are not careful, our water will become unwholesome and we cannot drink but have to resort to getting water from other places to supplement what we have in the country.’

He said citizens should make every effort to stop the pollution by the illegal miners, calling on all stakeholders to get on board to find a lasting solution to the problem.

Prof Albert Ebo Duncun of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of UCC downplayed the use of brute force in tackling the matter, indicating that it had not been effe

Instead, he said, the State must take a more friendly approach, appealing to the conscience of communities, chiefs and even the perpetrators to appreciate the consequences of their actions.

‘The military thing will not work. Operation vanguard did not work. We need to bring our chiefs back and they need to play an active role,’ Prof Duncun said.

‘Until we empower the chiefs and communities to get involved and take charge, we are not getting anywhere.’

He called for an effective Integrated Water Resource Management where all relevant institutions worked together to end the illegality.

Osagyefo Amanfo Edu VI, Omanhen of the Mankessim Traditional Area, suggested that public hearing on environmental impact assessments and permits should not be limited to large scale miners alone.

That way, the communities would be more informed and hold every miner accountable for their actions.

Madam Kesewaa Appenteng-Addo, the Central Regional Manager, PURC, stressed the need for all to appreciate the importance o
f water and pledged the Commission’s commitment to the fighting against the onslaught.

Source: Ghana News Agency