Vals Intel, one of the two companies that lost out on the Bank of Ghana contract for the provision of an Interoperability Switch for Mobile Money and other e-lectronic payments and transfers has conceded that it misunderstood portions of the bidding process as a result of which they might have lost the contract.
Executive Chairman of the company, Mr Kojo Graham told JOY FM’s Kojo Yankson on Thursday that they their misunderstanding of the process resulted in the company stating in their bid documents that they will prepare bill for the BOG to pay after the period they planned to operate the switch.
Explaining the company’s concerns over the raging interoperability contract on the Super Morning Show, Mr Graham affirmed in the positive to a question posed by the programme host to the effect that “You didn’t quite understand the technical obligations as spelt out in the tender documents”.
The contract for a third party to interoperate the electronic retail payment system was awarded to Sibton Switch who are offering to execute the contract using a self-financing mechanism to raise GHC4.6 billion on their own to build a robust interface intended to ensure efficiency and safety, among numerous other benefits. The company hoped to recoup their investments over 15 years.
Two other companies that lost out of the bid were Vals Intel and Mericom Services Ltd. The two quoted GHC 14m and GHC 4m respectively while the winning firm, Sibton opted to undertake the project raising GHC 4.6billion for it.
Mr Graham told the radio station it was true that all 3 companies have international technical partners including Sibton to execute the project.
He agreed with the assertion that the very highly technical nature of the contract compelled the BOG to opt for Restrictive Tendering.
According to him, his company thought it was possible to recoup investments made within a period between 3 and 5 years and that was why they stated same in their documents to the central bank.
He also explained that all 3 firms were afforded the opportunity to engage extensively with all relevant stakeholders during the bidding process.
The BOG’s decision to engage a third party for the operation of a national central switch for interoperability has been lauded by many industry watchers. It is proven elsewhere that Interoperability is the only way to create a true inclusive financial ecosystem and because the results have often delivered exponential growth for all participants. Examples in other places have shown that Interoperability has contributed to market growth in a way that has not been experienced before. The system works in a way that develops better understanding for how the telecommunications companies compete among themselves. Competition lies in quality of service, and agent quality and liquidity are far more significant determinants for success. A Telcos’s Mobile Money success is measured by driving value into the system, rather than growing segregated networks. That way also, one will find customer engagement more responsive because it is much easier to position.
It is therefore not true that with the coming into being of the interoperability concept, consumers will pay more. May be a simple demonstration will suffice. So for instance, instead of paying GHC 20 for sending GHC 2,000 as it is currently, the figure will reduce to GHC 17.5; GHC 7.5 for GHC 1,000 instead of GHC 10; GHC 3.50 for GHC 500 instead of GHC 5; GHC 1.75 for GHC 200 instead of GHC 2.00 and GHC 0.75 for GHC 100 instead of GHC 1.00. this is how one stands to gain when the interoperability becomes operational.