We are a major contributor to financial inclusion – MTN Ghana

MTN Ghana says it has made major contributions to financial inclusion through its products and services, business start-ups and job creation.

It said its products and services had helped to unlock talents, businesses and sectors of the Ghanaian economy as the entity had grown from a telecommunications company to a technology one.

Madam Sylvia Otuo-Acheampong, Head, Product and Services, Mobile Money Limited, MTN in a plenary

session, said over 13 million Ghanaians were using mobile money and 140, 000 merchants using it for payment transactions.

‘We have about 15, 000 Point of Sales (POS) that accept mobile money nationwide, and we have around 240, 000 agents nationwide,’ she said.

Madam Sylvia Otuo-Acheampong was speaking at the company’s Business CTIO Roundtable Africa 2023 in Accra to alloe industry players discuss strategies and issues to strengthen the Fintech sector and businesses while creating value for customers.

Madam Otuo-Acheampong said: ‘One of the ways mobile money is also dealing with security is to create an ecosystem within an ecosystem where we do a thorough deep-diving in how to secure partners and customers so that even if one platform is affected it would not affect others.’

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), she said staff were always sensitised on fraudulent activities, adding that there were tools in to protect customer data.

‘We are collaborating with the security agencies to deal swiftly with fraud cases the moment it is detected so we can nip it in the bud, however, we need to do more education for our vulnerable customers not to share their pins,’ Madam Otuo-Acheampong said.

MTN currently has five platforms, the Mobile Money platform which renders Fintech solutions; Ayoba App that delivers digital services; Enterprise services that supports business start-ups; Network services and the African API marketplace with products like e-health and e-commerce.

Mr Dario Bianchi, Chief Digital Officer, MTN, said,

data privacy and cyber security were crucial to the industry and MTN had robustly designed their security key, adding that government, MTN and agencies must continue to collaborate against threats.

He told the GNA there were plans to give incentives to customers who use their Apps and in the next three months there could be some special bundles and promotions.

Mr Solomon Kofi Richardson, Director, Technical Services, National Information Technology Agency (NITA), said government had begun some measures and foundations to promote growth like the Digital Economic Policy at the Cabinet level for consideration.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Juaben model STEM school to absorb about 10 Junior High Schools

A new Model Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) School under construction at Juaben in the Ashanti Region is set to absorb about 10 Junior High Schools (JHSs) when completed.

Funded by the Arab Development Bank, the school is one of five being constructed in the Ashanti Region as government pursues a new concept of JHS, which seeks to equip pupils at that level with 21st century skills.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education who briefed the media on the new concept, said bringing JHSs in Juaben under one roof with well-equipped laboratories and other facilities was the way to go as a country to build a solid foundation for the education system.

He said if the concept was replicated across the country, it would not only cut down the cost of running schools, but also promote serene academic environment.

According to the Minister, the goal was to equip Junior High Schools in the country with facilities at the Senior High School (SHS) level to make pupils familiar with them as they progressed from the lower to higher secondary.

‘You cannot do 21st century education without putting the children in places where basic equipment and tools are made available to them,’ the Minister pointed out.

Exposing the children at that level to modern laboratory equipment, would make it easier for them to handle at the higher level and also hasten the learning process for improved outcomes, the Minister argued.

‘That is how you lift the weak middle to make sure you are putting the children in a situation where they have quality six-year secondary experience, which is the lower end before moving to the high school,’ he said

The Minister is on a four-day working visit to the Ashanti Region where he has been visiting selected Senior High Schools as well as project sites of ongoing educational infrastructure.

Accompanied by the Director-General of Ghana Education Service (GES), Dr. Eric Nkansah and heads of other agencies under the Ministry, Dr. Adutwum spent time in every school he visited to counsel students on academic progression and career development.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Over 7,000 students graduate from UDS

The University for Development Studies (UDS) has held its 23rd congregation with 7,072 students graduating with various degrees.

A total of 27 students graduated with PhDs, 261 graduated with master’s degrees while 6,784 were undergraduates.

Professor Seidu Al-hassan, Vice-chancellor of UDS, in his address said enrollments over the past five years had sharply increased and attributed it to the Free Senior High School Programme.

Professor Al-hassan said the University needed to improve on its infrastructure such as science laboratories, lecture halls, students’ accommodation, robust internet service amongst others to cater for the increased enrollment figures.

He appealed to the government, civil society organisations, and philanthropists to support the University to improve on academic facilities on its various campuses.

He said the University had recently established new schools and faculties, which would train more human resources to enhance socio-economic development of the country.

He mentioned the new schools, which included School of Business, School of Economics, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Alhaji Shani Ahassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, who delivered a speech on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo, said government was committed to expanding the use of modern technology in institutions, by establishing e-platforms for distance and virtual learning to ensure quality education in the country.

He gave assurance of government’s commitment to address the infrastructural challenges facing the University.

He entreated the graduands to accept National Service Scheme postings to wherever their services were needed to contribute to the country’s development.

Source: Ghana News Agency

There is enough food to feed SHS students – Dr Adutwum

Senior High Schools (SHSs)across the country have enough food to feed students without difficulties, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education, has said.

He assured parents and stakeholders in education that there was no cause for alarm about reports of food shortages in schools, saying that government had put measures in place to ensure regular supply of food to schools.

The Minister was addressing the media at Osei Kyeretwie Senior High School (OKESS) which is one of the distribution centres for schools in the Kumasi Metropolis.

He was in the school as part of a four-day working visit in the Ashanti Region to engage with students and inspect ongoing projects.

He took advantage of the visit to inspect the warehouse which was stocked with large quantities of assorted foods such as rice, maize, beans, gari, flour and various kinds of canned foods.

Dr. Adutwum said as part of government’s efforts to ensure sustainable supply of food to the schools, it had contracted a company called Commodity Exchange to supply food in addition to the Buffer Stock.

He said the challenges of food supply associated with the implementation of the Free Senior High Schools informed the addition of Commodity Exchange to find lasting solution to the shortage of foods in schools.

‘We have also made sure funds for the purchase of perishables are released to the schools on time to ensure students are fed without excuses,’ the Minister stated.

He said the President was committed to addressing all challenges confronting the Free Education Programme to preserve the huge benefits of the programme for posterity.

Mr William Darkwa, the National Coordinator of the Free Senior High School Programme, said OKESS was one of 54 distribution centres across the country where food for the schools were stored.

He reiterated that there was adequate food in the schools, adding that, feeding the students was an important component of the programme that could not be compromised.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Morocco’s U-17 Football Team Departs for Constantine to Participate in AFCON

Morocco’s national U-17 football team has departed the Rabat-Sale International Airport, heading to Algeria’s Constantine to participate in the U-17 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) confirmed on Friday.

Algeria allowed a direct travel route for the team on Thursday following pressure from FIFA, according to converging reports.

The competition will kick off on Saturday and will last until May 19. Morocco will play in Group B alongside Nigeria, Zambia, and South Africa.

FRMF official Mohamed Boudrika confirmed that the team had secured a direct travel route on Thursday.

The leadup to the tournament was overshadowed by doubts over the team’s participation due to the ongoing tensions with Algeria.

As with the latest African Nations Championship (CHAN), the FRMF had conditioned its U-17 team’s participation in the continental tournament on the possibility of traveling directly from Rabat to Constantine.

Morocco had ended up forfeiting their participation in the CHAN as Algeria denied the FRMF’s request for a direct travel route.

Algeria closed its airspace to Morocco after it severed its ties with its neighbor in 2021 after decades of tensions around Algerian support for the separatist Polisario Front.

This year marks the Moroccan U-17 team’s third appearance in the continental tournament. Their best performance came in 2013, when they finished fourth.

FRMF President Fouzi Lekjaa also held a meeting on Thursday night to ‘motivate’ the players, the federation said, adding that the senior national team’s technical staff led by Walid Regragui were also present.

Regragui stressed the importance of representing Morocco in continental competitions, urging the players to think of the group and not be selfish in order to achieve success at the tournament.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECG will prosecute recalcitrant customers to the letter- Manager

Mr Paul Asibi Abariga, General Manager in charge of Prosecution, Electricity Company of Ghana, says the company will prosecute all defaulting customers over debts and non-payment of bills.

Mr Abariga said, ‘Pay all that is due ECG or else we would come after you. Recalcitrant customers would be prosecuted to the letter to set as an example to the other customers.’

He was speaking to the GNA after Daniel Kwakye, Hotel Operations Manager of Hillburi Hotel, Aburi appeared before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly consuming power of GHS665,180.09 from November 30, 2020, to March 24, 2023.

Kwakye who has been charged with Intentionally interfering with suppliers Distribution system and stealing, pleaded not guilty.

The court presided over by Mr. Samuel Bright Acquah admitted Kwakye to bail in the sum of GHS50,000 with one surety.

Prosecution led by Mr Abariga said accused had made payments in respect of the debt owed by the Hotel and he (accused) has presented the receipts in court.

According to prosecution, they were ready with the disclosures for trial to commence.

The matter has therefore been adjourned to May 8.

The fact of Prosecution is that the complainant in the case is Stephen Bassie Taylor, a Technician Foreman at the Revenue Protection Unit of ECG, Head office.

Prosecution said on March 28, 2023, at about 1200noon, ECG Revenue Protection Auditing Team on a field exercise at Hillburi Hotel at Aburi detected an illegal connection of electricity power by the hospitality centre and same was reported to ECG office.

It said the complainant was then called upon to proceed to the scene and verify the ‘state of bypass.’

Prosecution said the photographs were taken to that effect and illegal source of power was disconnected.

It said on April 11, 2023, an official complaint was made against the accused person.

Prosecution the complainant accompanied by ECG police investigators pointed out ‘by passed underground cable.’

‘Four prepaid meters with identification numbers P63282580, P632910, P6329711, P6329712 were found installed at the premises. Investigation led to the arrest of the accused person.’

The prosecution said, ‘investigations revealed that, from November 30, 2020, to Mach 24, 2023 though there were four meters for power supply to the facility, the accused person who was in charge of the facility at the time by passed all these meters that supplied power directly and therefore making the facility consumer power illegality without paying for same.’

It said a bill of GHS 665, 180.09 was surcharged to the Hillburi Hotel management which a part of payment of GHCS365,180.08 has been made by the accused.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Expert says new WhatsApp feature can expose users to hacking

Mr Jide Awe, the Chief Exexcutive Officer, Jidaw Systems Ltd., says the new feature in WhatsApp can make users vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks by cybercriminals.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the new WhatsApp feature enables users to operate their account on four different devices.

Awe told NAN in an interview in Lagos on Saturday that having multiple devices linked to a single account gives hackers more opportunities to access personal data or take over the account.

He, however, noted that WhatsApp had implemented several security measures to protect against such threats, including end-to-end encryption and remote device management.

Speaking on its advantages, he said the new feature would increase flexibility and convenience by providing users with more ways to access their WhatsApp accounts.

“The ability to use up to four different devices simultaneously makes it easier for users to stay connected with their contacts.

“This feature will enable users to manage their devices and log out of them remotely. This can give them greater control over their accounts, “he said.

On users opinions, Awe said individual preferences would come into play, noting that it might be convenient for some to use it on different devices while others could stick to using WhatsApp on one device.

He said that Mark Zuckerberg’s aim for adding the new feature could be an attempt to make WhatsApp more user-friendly and convenient with a view to attracting more users to the platform.

Awe said it could also be an attempt to keep up with other competitors like Telegram and Signal, both of which already offered multi-device support.

He added that the impact or success of the new feature would depend on whether users embraced it or if it would have any unforseen consequences.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Troops eliminate 3 bandits, recover weapons in Zamfara

Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji on Sunday neutralised three bandits in an ambush at Anka-Dan Kapani crossing in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Danmadami said the troops also recovered one PKT gun with 48 rounds of 7.62mm x 54 ammunition, three AK 47 rifles, three magazines with 63 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and three motorcycles.

“The military high command commends troops and encourages the public to avail troops with credible and timely information on terrorist and all criminal activities within their area,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

I’m optimistic of Oyetola’s victory at Supreme Court – Ex-Federal commissioner

Prof. Razaq Abubakre, a former Vice Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, has expressed optimism that former Osun governor Gboyega Oyetola will reclaim his mandate at the Supreme Court.

Abubakre, a retired Iwo professor and prominent indigene of Osun, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.

He said those threatening to cause trouble if APC wins at the Supreme Court are making empty threats.

“As for the promise of fire and brimstone by the PDP should APC win at the Supreme Court, it is an empty threat.

“This is because the security apparatus is part of the paraphernalia of the office of a chief executive, which will cease to be effective for the use of the PDP with its reputation of violence.

“Peace will return to the state once again by the grace of God the Almighty,” Abubakre said.

He alleged that the violent posture of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) remained a hallmark of the PDP, especially in Osun State.

“Many lives were lost in the struggle for Rauf Aregbesola to become governor in Osun State.

“The state normally knows peace only when progressives are in power.

“They kill their members even while conducting their primaries. They killed many members of APC and forced many to abandon their abodes which enabled the PDP and the unscrupulous umpire and security allies to write whatever they chose.

“Still, cast-iron records show that irregularities characterised the Osun governorship election,” Abubakre alleged.

He alleged that the intimidation of the Supreme Court by the spokespersons of PDP was not dissimilar to what Mr Ahmed Datti did, which prompted the Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka to condemn some of the Labour Party members.

Abubakre said that good governance was not impression management, neither was it corruption in the guise of delivering substandard infrastructural projects at inflated costs.

He said the performance of Adeleke was incomparable to the governance credentials of Oyetola, who was a silent performer.

Abubakre said that, for example, Oyetola demonstrated commendable probity and genuinely delivered critical infrastructural projects that would stand the test of time.

According to Abubakre, former governor Oyetola of the APC is still popular in Osun and is the favourite of the people.

“The popularity of APC and the former governor Gboyega Oyetola was tested twice in the just concluded Ramadan.

“The first of the events was held in Iwo, the headquarters of Osun West Senatorial District. It was a Ramadan lecture and prayers for the successful inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President of Nigeria and the victory of Oyetola at the Supreme Court.

“This, we organised from our own free volition and financial contribution without any funding from outside Iwoland. It was a mammoth crowd of devotees. May Allah accept the prayers,” he said.

Abubakre said the second event was a similar programme at Osogbo, held at the Tinubu-Shettima campaign office, for the same intent and purpose, which also turned out to be an up roaring success.

Abubakre was a Federal Commissioner for the Public Complaints Commission for Osun State between 2012 and 2018, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ilorin from 2001 to 2003.

The Emeritus Professor has been a member of Agba Osun (Elders of Osun) of the APC, from 2021 to date.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Sudan: FG says $1.2m negotiated on condition of war

The Federal Government has explained that the sum of 1.2 million dollars allegedly spent in hiring buses for the evacuation of Nigerian students in Sudan was due to the dire need of the war situation.

This is contained in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Mrs Rhoda Iliya.

It was also signed by officials of the ministry of foreign affairs Ambassador Janet Olisa and Dr Sani Gwarzo of Humanitarian affairs ministry in Abuja on Saturday.

“The outcry over the negotiated sum of 1.2 million dollars for the buses hired for the exercise, is uncalled for.

“The amount in question was negotiated in a condition of war and where there are competing demands for same bus services by other countries also trying to evacuate their citizens.

“The general public is hereby advised to discountenance the unverified information being circulated on the social media as some of them are either due to ignorance or sheer mischief,” it said.

The statement also appealed for cooperation and understanding of all Nigerians in the ongoing efforts to ensure all Nigerians stranded in Sudan are returned home safely.

“The first batch of 13 buses conveying six hundred and thirty seven (637) evacuees had arrived the identified safe borders at Aswan, Egypt.

“The evacuees are undergoing necessary documentation and clearance before admission into the Egyptian territory for their eventual evacuation to Nigeria in the coming hours by the Nigerian Air Force and Air Peace airline, who have been on standby for the operations.

“However, the movement of the second batch of 29 buses will commence on April 29 and the evacuees are advised to be at the designated locations with only one luggage.”

It advised Nigerian students awaiting evacuation from Khartoum to cooperate with embassy officials for proper documentation while embarking on the buses to the designated locations.

“This will go a long way in speeding up the process and avoiding unnecessary delays with documentation and clearance upon arrival at the Aswan, Egypt.”

The government expressed commitment towards successful evacuation of all Nigerians stranded in Sudan before the expiration of the extended 72 hours ceasefire agreement.

“We want to use this opportunity to extend our appreciation to friendly countries who have in one way or the other assisted in bringing succour to Nigerians fleeing the war in Sudan.

“Particularly, Nigeria acknowledges the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for graciously assisting with the evacuation of eight Nigerians from Sudan to safety in its territory, from where they would be airlifted back to Nigeria,” the statement added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria