Telecom Chamber welcomes new guidelines on E-money issuers in Ghana
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication has welcomed the newly proposed guidelines for e-money issuers in Ghana and Agent Guidelines by the Bank of Ghana. According to the Chamber, the proposed regulations are comprehensive, conform to international best practices and reflect the inputs of all key stakeholders.
In a statement issued in Accra and signed by the Head of Communications and Research Derek Laryea and copied to Biztechafrica, it noted that the central bank ensured that all key stakeholders were involved in the development of this regulation which includes MNOs, Banks, other payment service providers, prospective electronic money issuers etc. “Additionally, to ensure that the proposed regulations conformed with international best practices the central bank sought guidance from independent experts from CGAP," it said.
The introduction of this new guidelines according to the Telecom Chamber will yield high dividends for MNOs. These include promoting financial inclusion without risk to the financial system, extending financial services beyond traditional channels, ensuring that electronic money is provided by duly licensed institutions, and ensuring that customers benefit from adequate transparency, fair treatment and effective recourse.
This draft of the regulation formalizes the current operational reality of an MNO led MFS industry 7 years since the launch of an earlier version of the regulation to enable banks develop digital financial services, no bank launched a single product with the exception of one (Fidelity Bank) who launched a product last year. The banks have thus far remained passive partners to an almost all MNO deployment industry. The regulations will essentially be regularizing an already existing phenomenon and has incorporated all the key regulatory /risk management requirements for managing such a model.
The Bank of Ghana after a broader consultation with both players in the banking and telecommunication sectors to create an enabling regulatory environment for convenient, efficient and safe non-cash retail payment and funds transfer mechanisms issued the Guidelines for E-Money Issuers in Ghana and Agent Guidelines for financial institutions regulated under the Banking Act 2004, (Act 673).
The guidelines among other things are gear towards the promotion, availability and acceptance of electronic money as a retail payment medium with the potential to increase financial inclusion; specify necessary safeguards and controls to mitigate the risks associated with e-money business and ensure consumer protection safeguards, provide rules for financial institutions offering select financial services outside traditional bank branches by using retail outlets and other non-bank entities such as agents for service delivery; provide for non-bank entities to be licensed and supervised by Bank of Ghana as dedicated e-money issuers (DEMIs); and enable DEMIs own and manage electronic money business using retail outlets and agents as a channel for delivery of financial services to extend the coverage of their services.
“The Guidelines would be reviewed periodically through a consultative process involving the key stakeholders," the bank said.