Set Up Payments Council – Report
Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah
A report on Strategic Payments Roadmap for Ghana, produced by Standard Chartered Bank, has called for the establishment of a Payments Council by the Central Bank to successfully steer the country away from the use of cash for business transactions.
The report, which is based on the views of people who participated in a stakeholders’ engagement last year, was recently launched at the Central Bank.
It suggested that the body, to be called Ghana payments Council, should embrace a cash-lite system under which mobile money, the use of cards and point of sales (PoS) terminals would become the dominant forms of payment.
The report, which aims at reducing the huge unbanked population because of the challenges that come with it, said Ghana was lagging behind other African countries which were fast moving into cash-lite economy.
‘While the use of cash to make payments is significantly reducing in these other African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana appears stuck to its past and missing out on the enormous benefits of such electronic payment systems.
The Ghanaian case is even more disturbing because the country has all the infrastructure and products to be a market leader, but the absence of a national ownership and policy has resulted in low patronage of these services.’
The Strategic Payments Roadmap for Ghana Report additionally touches on a number of issues.
The telecos have introduced mobile money, Ghana Interbank Payment Systems (GhIPSS) has also introduced various payments systems while private technology firms have in conjunction with banks introduced various prepaid and debits cards.
However, the Report suggests that the council should ensure a proper governance structure for the country’s payment system.
The Payments Council, according to the Report, should be responsible for standards, pricing, determination of priorities and rules that will guide the various payment schemes.
The Report said Council should be chaired by the Central Bank Governor and members will include the Chief Executives of banks, payments arms of telcos, GhIPSS and other relevant financial institutions.
The Council, according to the report, should have committees that will be assigned specific roles relating to the core functions of the council.
Market watchers are worried that while payments systems in other countries are national in character and enjoys government direction, very little can be said of Ghana’s story.
But the Report could be the turning point if the Central Bank and other key stakeholders give it the needed attention.
BY Samuel Boadi
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