Stakeholders meet over Ghana mobile money

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Stakeholders both in the financial and telecoms industry in Ghana have met in Accra  at an MTN Stakeholders Forum to discuss the way forward in their quest to make the operation of mobile money in the country very user friendly and accessible across board on every given platform for the country to achieve its aim of becoming a cashless society.

With strides made in the penetration of mobile usage now hovering  around 110.20 per cent, stakeholders believes that there is the need to make transactions using mobile money platform to capture every facet of the Ghanaian economy.

The regulator, the Bank of Ghana has given the assurance of its assistance with the provision of the necessary regulations to strengthen the various institutions tasked to oversee to the smooth implementation of mobile money.

The Payment System Policy and Oversight at the Bank of Ghana Mr. Clarence Blay maintained that the Bank of Ghana as a regulatory body will create the enabling environment for service providers to be able to operate in meeting their set targets.

But the MTN Sales & Distribution Executive Mr. Eric Nsarkoh addressing the forum called for more government support through policy direction especially in the area of tax holidays to promote the growth of mobile wallet transactions and cashless payment in the country.

According to him MTN Ghana believes that the growth of Cashless Payments will be driven largely by mobile wallet transactions or payments which are chain of payments that are initiated using mobile handsets and other devices, either to directly purchase or to authorize payment for goods and services.

He said with the active government partnership and support, there will be a tremendous growth in government to person payments.

Giving some statistical background the CEO of Opportunity International Savings and Loans, Mr. Kwame Owusu-Boateng stated that as at December 2013, Ghana had 24 registered Savings and Loans, 25 Finance Houses, 390 licensed Microfinance companies and 92 Microfinance companies with provisional licenses. He noted that despite this huge number of Non-Bank financial institutions and MFIs, over 60% of the bankable population in Ghana are still unbanked.  “In December 2012, only 29% of Ghanaians had bank accounts, out of which 37% had savings accounts, and 35% had access to credit” he said.

This huge untapped market create opportunities for Telcos who  have over 99.7% mobile phone penetration and over 24.4 million subscribers to drive the country to a  cashless economy through the  use of mobile money technology.  Networked financial institutions and Mobile Money operators promise convenience, safety, security and affordability in the movement of cash across the country. Especially with the emergence of sophisticated crime on our high ways all targeted at cash held by travelers, the use of mobile technology becomes more critical.

“Ghana will continue to be a heavily cash dependent society if the mobile money technology is not embraced,” said Mr. Owusu-Boateng. Mobile banking remains the most reasonable means to create a successful cashless economy. But most people with mobile phones lack access to basic banking services. This is where microfinance institutions have a very strategic role to play in promoting Mobile Money wallet transactions because they serve clients at the base of the pyramid which forms the largest section of the population of Ghana.

 

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