Government to roll out financial interoperability system in May – Bawumia
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has announced that the Government would launch the financial interoperability payment system in May, this year, to bring everybody into the financial system to ensure financial inclusion.
He said the system would ensure that, everybody could easily move money from his or her bank account into the mobile wallet account and e-switch account and vice versa, without any difficulties.
The process known as “Triangular Financial Inclusion” would enable everybody to enjoy banking services and ensure a cash-lite society to engender socio-economic growth, he stated.
Vice President Bawumia said this when he met 250 young entrepreneurs at the Youth Entrepreneurship Forum at the Accra Digital Centre, in Accra, on Friday, on the theme: “Inspiring Youth Entrepreneurship”.
The forum was jointly organised by the National Youth Authority and the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (NYA-CAYE), to discuss Ghana’s economic challenges and measures government is putting in place to create job for the youth.
Vice President Bawumia said the Government, through the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) intended to support and incubate businesses of young people.
He told the gathering that, funds had been made available to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to provide stimulus package for some selected ailing businesses to stand on their feet.
He said the essence of providing those services was to equip the youth to have the required skills to do business and be successful.
Dr Bawumia urged the youth to take interest in government’s flagship programmes such as the One-District, One-Factory, One-Village, One-Dam, and One-District, One-Warehouse, to make headway in life.
“We believe in you, and believe in Ghanaian entrepreneurs, therefore, we will do everything possible as government to empower and help you move forward.
“We salute you, we cherish you and we applaud you because you give us hope,” he stated.
The Vice President commended Ghanaian entrepreneurs for keeping faith with their business ideas and exhibiting perseverance during the trying times of the national economy.
“We’re of the firm belief that when you’re young and creative, and jobs are not out there ready for the taking, your creative adrenaline becomes restless, and nothing can replace the feeling of earning an income by your own efforts.
“The fruit of that labour may not be regular and may not be much for starters, but you can tell the tickling feeling of fulfilment on the harvest day when an idea you designed and executed begins to bear fruit…all big things as they say begin in small measures,” he noted.
The Vice President stated that the Government had been concerned with the macroeconomic environment since assuming office in January last year, adding that, before businesses could attract mutually beneficial investment and trade, the local economy must be sound and business-friendly.
“From the place of registering a business, reducing the cost of electricity and water, cost of borrowing, port efficiency, adding; “We have been concerned about the overall cost of doing business in this country, “he stated.
Vice President Bawumia noted that, those measures had been the major pre-occupation of government; therefore, it had taken bold steps in that regard.
In the 2017 Budget, he said, the Government reduced the special petroleum tax from 17.5 to15 per cent, the national electrification scheme levy from five to three per cent, public lightning levy from five to two per cent.
More so, in the 2018 Budget, the Government appealed to the Public Utility and Regulation Commission (PURC) to reduce the utility tariffs to make life easier for households and businesses.
Therefore, earlier this month, he said, the PURC responded with significant reduction in electricity tariffs by 30 per cent for businesses, 17.5 per cent for residential consumers,10 percent for the mining sector.
With regard to import tariffs, he said, government reduced the special import levy and abolished duty on spare parts.
He noted that, in spite of the reduction of those levies, importers were having difficulties in doing business, therefore, as a listening government, it scrapped the Import VAT on over a thousand items of 64 commodities earlier this week.
Dr Bawumia said the Government’s tax record had not only been supportive of the business environment, but also unmatched in recent economic history.
“Remarkably, we’re doing all these while balancing the books to achieve the first ever positive primary budget balance over a decade.
“Achieving significant contraction of the fiscal deficit from 9.3 per cent by the end of 2016 to 5.6 per cent,” he pointed out.
Vice President Bawumia said 2017 was the first time since 2006 that, any government had set a target and been able to meet it and do better than the target, and also managed to achieve 7.9 per cent economic growth from the previous 3.6 per cent.
He said the Government achieved all those economic milestone, while fulfilling key electioneering promises, including the Free Senior High School, the Teacher and Nursing Trainee Allowances due to good economic management.
He said high cost of lending undermined private sector expansion, made businesses uncompetitive, a major deterrent for business start-ups, and stifled growth and assured that, government would continue to implement policies and programmes that would inure to the benefit of Ghanaians.