Safeguard citizenry against digitisation loopholes

In his State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Tuesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said National Identification (ID) numbers would soon be linked to SIM cards, bank accounts, birth and death registry, passports, and Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) documents,

He also said from the second quarter of this year, the national ID numbers would become SSNIT numbers to increase the number of people on the SSNIT database from four million to 15.5 million.

Besides, from April 1, all national ID numbers would become Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) and noted that in doing so, the number of people registered by GRA for tax purposes would increase from the current 3 million to 15.5 million.

Another piece of information is that following the successful implementation of the Digital Property Addressing System, the process of affixing unique property address plates for properties in all 16 regions has also started.

The foregoing pieces of information are heart-warming because the world is moving towards a direction of digitising all activities in the various spheres of human endeavours.

What this means is that any country and people who fail to join the bandwagon would miss the journey and hence fail to reach the digitised destination completely or come there late, by which time others may have  moved on to various wondrous stages.

Already Africa, particularly West Africa, is far behind the digital race; Africans seem to wait for the rest of the world before it follows.

This may be acceptable because in some cases, we need reference points, but for how long are we going to wait before we chart the African path in the digitisation race?

The benefits of digitisation are numerous; for instance, now people can transact business without necessarily getting to locations but wait for goods to arrive.

Also, how difficult it was in the past sending money to business partners, relatives and others, paying fees, bills and making other payments? Now, with even our phones, remittances are done with ease. Digitisation also helps us to access services.

We cannot discount any of the benefits of digitisation but we should pause to look at the negative side and how it could be tackled.

One problem is digitisation illiteracy. Most of our people lack appreciable education and so are susceptible to fraud by the wicked digitally-literate ones. Mobile money fraud, for instance, is visited on people who do have full understanding of the system.

Also, some people lack the right information concerning the various aspects of even one digital transaction. What this calls for is that the government should look at all the grey areas of digitisation to safeguard the populace against loopholes that could be exploited against unsuspecting people.

Already, it is an open secret that some of the players in the financial sector can exploit digitisation to dupe unsuspecting customers.

Now that national IDs are going to be linked, fraudsters will begin to find ways to outwit the system and this is the time the experts should sit up and imagine all the loopholes and plug them.

That way, the digitisation system in the country would be a source of comfort for its numerous benefits.

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