Ghana’s road to cashless economy needs clear policy – Panelists
Currently there is no clear driver of the national electronic payments system agenda in Ghana. The Bank of Ghana is playing a facilitating role while its mandated institution, the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Limited provides the required infrastructure.
At a day’s panel discussion in Accra on Monday under the auspices of the Ghana Commercial Bank, panelists underscored that the best practice elsewhere for an e-payments system had been government taking the lead role in the implementation process.
Charting a way forward for Ghana to move into the cashless arena, Mr Archie Hesse, Chief Executive Officer of the GhIPSS, therefore, said: “Government of Ghana must be seen playing a more central role by using the non-cash forms of payments”.
“Government like any other government that is serious about moving into the cashless arena, should ensure that they as government are really role players of using and patronizing the system. So for instance district assemblies should also use e-zwich for collection of tolls and other revenues to ensure accountability…”
“We (GhIPSS) are happy that today Government intern to use the e-zwich to pay workers of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurs Development Agency (GYEEDA). This should be extended to more public sector workers,” he said.
He said other major partners in the process were the financial institutions which were expected to deploy more Point of Sale (PoS) devices to ensure smooth take of the system.
Mr Hesse said GhIPSS did not see why pharmacies and fuel stations should not be made to accept only electronic forms of payments after 10pm. “When this is done it can also be extended to other sectors as the patronage improves.”
“The infrastructure needed for a cashless society is there. We have it. The government has paid for it. And that is the only way we can ensure that adoption and patronage occur,” he added.
The slow pace of Ghana’s adoption of e-payments, according to the Managing Director of the GCB, Mr Simon Dornoo could best be explained from the long queues or overcrowding in banking halls where customers go to perform basic transactions.
He said today in Ghana “the payments infrastructure has expanded and banking systems are now interoperable so the conditions are right to move a lot faster to join those countries that have made significant progress towards this goal.”
The Minister of Communications, Dr Omane Boamah, in statement read for him, noted that securing the understanding of the population to adopt the new payments system was critical to achieve the goal.
The Ghana Commercial Banks’ panel discussion, which was on the topic: ”Achieving a Cashless Society – The role of banks, the Government and the Customer,” was part of the bank’s activities to celebrate its 60th anniversary.