Alhassan Andani, CEO, Stanbic Ghana
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Stanbic Bank, Alhassan Andani, has called for increased patronage of direct debit systems by individuals and organizations.
Speaking at a direct debit stakeholders’ forum on Thursday in Accra themed, ‘Direct Debit, a smart way to maximise collections,’ Mr Andani said the challenges faced by individuals and businesses in using cheques, standing orders and other means of cashless transactions necessitated an improved system to advance the country towards a cashlite society.
“Recurrent payments within the Ghanaian banking sector have evolved over the years from cash through cheques to standing order instructions, with all their inherent challenges. These challenges have led to the development of more efficient electronic means of payment and collections, such as direct debits,” he said.
Isaac Kofi Amoah, Head of Strategic Programmes at GhIPPS, in a presentation to explain the mechanics of the system, said “The direct debit is when a client goes to a shop or an institution and requests their product and the institution in turn signs an agreement, which is called mandate. Once you sign that mandate you agree that you will pay a certain amount every month to cover up the total amount you owe.
“So what happens is that you provide the needed accounts details on the mandate. The mandate will then be sent to your bank to inform your bankers that you have authorised them to take a particular amount from your account/s within a certain specified period,” he said.
Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), advised stakeholders in the financial sector to take steps to nurture and grow the product in Ghana, as it has been done in various advanced countries.
“The direct debit product is a very instrumental and useful product that must be encouraged and nurtured to grow and flourish in Ghana. If well-promoted, it promises to provide convenience and certainty to the payments landscape of businesses, government and individuals.
“In the 2015 edition of World Payment report, direct debit was identified as one of the rapidly growing non-cash payment alternatives globally for utility payments, insurance premium payments and tax payments. This growth must be made to reflect in Ghana as well,” he said.
He added that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and GhIPPS were advocating for more use of direct debit systems to drive economic growth.
A direct debit is an instruction from a customer to their bank authorising an organisation to collect varying amounts from their accounts.
By Samuel Boadi