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Dr. Bawumia Launches Free Wi-Fi For All Tertiary and Secondary Institutions

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The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has commissioned the government’s flagship Free Wi-fi Project to tertiary institutions in Accra.

The Tertiary Institutions project, currently anchored on 650 kilometers of the fiber optic network of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), is part of the Government’s ongoing programme to provide Free Wi-fi to all 722 public Senior High Schools, 46 Colleges of Education, and at least 15 traditional Public Tertiary Institutions across the country, 13 of which are in the operational zone of ECG.

The two other public tertiary institutions, University of Development Studies (UDS), Tamale and the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, as well as, the campuses of newly created University Colleges in northern Ghana, fall outside the operational area of ECG and be served by the Northern Electricity Company (NEDCO) in collaboration with GRIDCO and NITA.

The 13 beneficiary institutions are: University of Ghana, Legon; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi; University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast; University of Education, Winneba; Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Accra; University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), Ho; University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa; and University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).

The rest are Regional Maritime University, Accra; Ghana Technology University College (GTUC), Accra; Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra; Ghana Institute of Languages, Accra and National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), Accra.

Speaking at the commissioning of the project at the new campus of the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra on Friday, 20 November 2020, Vice President Bawumia noted that when the Akufo-Addo government conceived of the Free Wi-Fi to schools’ project, nobody could have predicted that COVID-19 would make distance learning a central part of academic work at all levels of education, and this visionary move had enabled Ghana’s educational institutions to prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“As disruptive and devastating as COVID is, it has supercharged the need to accelerate high-speed internet connectivity to ensure that academic work, commercial transactions, social interactions, and other human activities can go on uninterrupted without physical contact.

Enhancing teaching and learning

“The benefits of this Free Wi-Fi Project cannot be over-emphasized enough. Lecturers, teachers, and students will have access to the necessary educational information to enhance teaching, learning, and research in our Universities, Colleges, Senior High, and Basic Schools across the country.

“Government is therefore determined to pursue the digitization agenda at all facets of the Ghanaian economy. The government is committed to leveraging ICT technology as a cross-cutting enabler of economic growth, the innovation of service delivery, and a powerful tool of accelerated learning. This commitment is reflected in the sheer number of related digital applications and policy plans that the government has adopted in the past 4 years.”

Describing the Free Wi-Fi Project as “a leveler of academic opportunities” and “an equal opportunity window to the world of ‘Internet of Things”, Vice President Bawumia pointed out that a student in a less endowed school will have access to the same academic material available to his or her counterparts in a more endowed school.

“The difference now will be the student’s own ability and discipline to apply him or herself diligently to studies.”

Given the success of this pilot project, Dr. Bawumia disclosed that the Government is determined to roll out the Free Wi-Fi to cover all tertiary and secondary institutions from next year.

Other beneficiaries

The beneficiary institutions include, but are not limited to all Technical Universities, all Colleges of Education, all Nursing Training Colleges, and all Senior High Schools.

“The ongoing Wi-Fi Project in the Senior High Schools, which is being led by the Ministries of Communication and Education, will be accelerated and enhanced through high-speed internet connectivity leveraging on the combined fiber-optic infrastructure of ECG, GRIDCo, NEDCo, and NITA.”

Further activities to be undertaken under the Tertiary project include the provision of 4,800 additional Wi-Fi Access Points (APs) made up of 4,186 outdoor and 614 indoor to the already existing ones in the 13 institutions. Given the average radius covered by each AP, it is estimated that the total radius to be covered by the 4,800 additional APs will be approximately 840km. With this extended coverage area, students, lecturers, and the academic community will have access to high-speed internet in every strategic facility on various campuses.

“The Akufo-Addo government is committed to deepening our digital infrastructure, our digital skills, and digital entrepreneurship in our effort to build Ghana as a central hub in the sub-region. The government will continue to count on the private sector as we seek to offer more innovative services as well as create more jobs for our youthful population,” he pledged.

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General News

Speaker Alban Bagbin travels again to Dubai for medical checks

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Alban Bagbin

Speaker Alban Bagbin travels again to Dubai for medical checks

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin is scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) again for his due medical review.

In a letter to President Akufo-Addo, the Speaker explained that his trip for another medical review was due on January 7, 2022.

“I am writing to inform you of my absence from Ghana from Friday, 7 January 2022 till Sunday 23, 2022 in order to honour an appointment for a medical review in the United Arab Emirates.”

“It is also important to bring to your attention that the House will resume its sittings for the First Meeting of the Second Session of the 8th Parliament on Tuesday 25 January 2022,” the letter from the Speaker’s Office noted.

Speaker Bagbin also informed the President that “prior to the resumption of the House, Parliament intends to undertake a Covid-19 (booster) vaccination exercise for Members of Parliament and Officers of the Parliamentary Service.”

Copy of the Speaker’s letter to Prez. Akufo-Addo;

alban bagbin's letter to Akufo-addo

Alban Bagbin was in UAE in November 2021, for similar medical check-ups.

Meanwhile, Parliament will be resuming the controversial debate on the 1.75% Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy) which has divided the House and caused massive uproar amongst Ghanaians.

The E-Levy approval is expected to rake in a little above ¢6 billion in tax revenue for the country.

This month [January 2022] we will go back to the floor of Parliament with the E-Levy and ensure that it gets passed by the end of the month,” Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Charles Adu-Boahen said during the investiture of the newly elected president of the Association of Ghana Industries, Humphrey Anim-Dake.

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Data from SIM card re-registration is bogus; we advised them to stop – NIA Boss

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Data from SIM card re-registration is bogus

Data from SIM card re-registration is bogus; we advised them to stop – NIA Boss

Photos of letters signed by the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA) in response to the National Communications Authority (NCA) regarding the commencement of the SIM Card re-registration reveal NIA’s initial rejection of the move since September 2021.

The Executive Secretary of NIA, Prof. Kenneth Attafuah has described the so-called biometric data being collected by the various telecommunication companies in the ongoing SIM card re-registration as useless.

In the letter, Professor Kenneth Attafuah, and his outfit cannot confirm that the data being collected by the telcos “will meet the standard to enable successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS) database.”

The letter was in response to a request for information to ascertain the synergy between the NIA data collection and the exercise being conducted by the telcos as being championed by the Communications Ministry through NCA.

“NIA is unable to confirm that the biometric data to be collected by the NCA for the purpose described above will meet the standard to enable successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS) database,” portion of the letter stated.

“The use of an App that is not developed or certified by NIA to rend the Ghana Card using a two-step data collection and verification process is outside NIA’s control. NIA is, therefore, unable to guarantee the results of such a process.”

Data from SIM card re-registration is bogusData from SIM card re-registration is bogusData from SIM card re-registration is bogus

Scanned copies of the letters dated September 2021 were first shared by one Selorm Branttie, Vice President at Imani Center for Policy & Education who doubles as Global Strategy Director at mPedigree Network, on his Facebook timeline.

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Nigeria commits to pay off US$28.7 million capital arrears in Shelter Afrique

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Nigeria Finance Minister Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and Shelter Afrique MD Andrew Chimphondah

Abuja – January 11, 2022: The Federal Republic of Nigeria has pledged to pay the full capital arrear of US$28.7m in Shelter Afrique, Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed disclosed at a meeting with Shelter Afrique Group Managing Director and CEO Mr. Andrew Chimphondah in Abuja.

The Minister further disclosed that the payment will be made in four installments starting January 2022.

In September 2020, the pan African housing development financier received US$$9.4 million from Nigeria. The contribution moved Nigeria to become the second-largest shareholding in the organization with 13.27% of the shareholding, behind Kenya with 17.78%, and ahead of the AfDB at 12.83%.

Lauding the government of Nigeria for its show of confidence in the institution and a stamp of approval for the organisation’s financial turnaround, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah said, “This is a major milestone which is set to propel Nigeria to become the largest shareholder in Shelter-Afrique when the country meets its capital commitment. This is a strong testament of the strong shareholder commitment and support of the Shelter Afrique Board and Management.”

Housing Bond

Shelter Afrique is planning to raise 250 Billion Naira Bond (US$500million) in 2022 to support its affordable housing projects in Nigeria. The Company is set to commence the road shows with prospective investors in January 2022 and is expected to conclude fundraising by end of February.

Shelter Afrique has embarked on a defined strategy of developing and deepening local capital markets so that access to local currency which is competitively priced can be made available to Nigerian Developers from the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Large Developers and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Banks and Primary Mortgage Lenders. The significance of this is that Shelter-Afrique will have been successful in dealing with the foreign exchange exposure risks that have crippled many African countries caused by the weakening of local African currencies against hard currencies such as the United States Dollar and the British Pound Sterling,” Mr. Chimphondah said.

Thanking the Finance Minister Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed for supporting the Bond Issue by the approvals received on critical waivers from the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Chimphondah noted that Nigeria was a critical and strategic market for Shelter Afrique, adding that the fund realized from the bond issue will go a long way in address the affordable housing shortage in the country, now estimated at 17 Million Units against the continent’s 56 million units.

“As a response to addressing this housing shortage, Shelter Afrique will implement a transformative strategy that will crowd in additional capital funding into the low cost large scale affordable housing market in a commercially viable manner,” Mr. Chimphondah concluded.

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