Ghana registers 16.4 million mobile money accounts
The MTN Ghana Mobile Money month stakeholders conference was held Wednesday August 10, 2016 as part of activities for the month-long celebration on the need to create an enabling regulatory environment.
The conference, which formed part of celebrating 20 years of MTN’s operations in Ghana, was on the theme: “Let’s go cashless with mobile money, supported by an enabling regulatory environment.”
Mr Eli Hini, General Manager, Mobile Financial Service, MTN, said there is the need for the right regulation supported by stakeholder since the service has thrived on innovation that is driven by patronage.
He said mobile money creates an open and level playing field to foster competition among service providers, attract investors and allow providers to refine measure of their services, however irresponsible regulatory framework has had an adverse effect on the service.
He said the service was used largely for airtime top up and money transfer but for the past three years there has been positive growth through the introduction of service such as bill, salary, school fees payments among others.
Mr Hini noted that with the improved usage of the service, the company decided to revisit the cashless society agenda, hence the theme for the celebration.
He said: “As a growing economy, we must develop a structured programme to achieve the benefit of a cashless economy as the benefits are huge.
He said with a service that has more than five million active subscribers and more than 46, 000 merchants nationwide, MTN could make a good case for Ghana to drive the digital agenda within the framework of the law.
Mr Hini noted that there is the need, however, for regulatory bodies to provide the necessary policies that would promote the use of mobile money and thereby make the cashless economy agenda a reality.
Mr Stephen Abban, the Group Head, Personal Banking, Access Bank, said in order to have a cashless society, as a country, all adults must have a mobile phone, all mobile phone users must have mobile money accounts, mobile money must become the commonest medium of transacting, and must be accepted by all players.
He said to achieve this, there is the need to grow the subscriber base, integrate the mobile money wallet onto Sim cards, and banks and stakeholders must continue to offer mobile money as default product or services.
“We have to increase utilisation and activation, where banks need to come out with a lot more initiatives to bring on board lots of people, increase accessibility to E – money, and issue out mobile money scratch cards.”
Mr Abban noted that although lots of strives have been made over the years, a lot more needs to be done, calling on stakeholders to develop a national cashless strategic plan to clearly define the cashless society and develop appropriate frameworks to getting there.
Madam Buddy Buruku, Country Manager, CGAP, noted that financial inclusion is moving at fast pace and mobile money has contributed immensely to that.
“With 16.4 million mobile money accounts in Ghana, representing 65 per cent of mobile money accounts, Ghana is closer to attaining a cashless society in the near future.”
She noted that although the future looks positive for Ghana, few issues need to be addressed since Ghana has a good standing in relation to policy regulation.
Deputy Head of Payments, Bank of Ghana, Mrs Clarissa Kudowor, said a cashless society is one in which the payments of goods and services are done via an electronic media.
Other activities lined up for the month long celebration include inter tertiary institutions debate, consumer promotions, a merchant forum, and partner banks would also launch their own initiatives to excite customers who transact with them throughout the month.