The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), has hinted it will soon push for a review of rules and regulations governing the country's monetary sector as part of efforts geared towards promoting electronic payment systems.
The review, according to the sector minister, Mr Seth Terkper, should take into consideration the need to encourage private sector participation in the promotion of electronic payment systems in the country, the challenges associated with electronic payments and how to deal with them, as well as to protect patrons of the system from fraud and its attendant consequences.
Mr Terkper gave the hint at the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop on National Payment Systems in Accra.
The workshop, organised by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and Standard Chartered Bank, was on the theme: 'Driving efficiency and value through innovative payment systems’.
Speaking on the need to promote electronic payment systems in the country, the Finance Minister said although electronic payment had been touted as less costly and more effective for transactions, its usage was still low in the country, something he blamed on a myriad of factors including the obsolete laws on the monetary front which did not favour the practice.
"We at the ministry are about to take all of the country's tax laws to Parliament for reviews in line with current trends and we hope BoG will also do a holistic review of the laws and regulations governing the monetary sector."
"That review can be done in a manner that will help promote electronic payment systems," Mr Terkper said.
The BoG and the MoFEP, though related, have different mandates regarding the management of economic issues in the country. While the MoFEP takes charge of the fiscal sector – government revenue and its impact on the economy – the BoG regulates the financial and monetary sector.
On the impact of electronic payments on e-Economy, Mr Terkper said, "Ghana's competitiveness in the global front depended on how it embraced electronic payment systems" and thus called for holistic approach towards widening its coverage.
Although switching from cash to electronic-based payment systems could be costly to businesses and financial institutions, the minister said the private sector needed to see it as a business opportunity rather than a bother.
"We also have a large youthful population who will readily embrace this system and so investing in it will be something good," the minister added.
On the need to review the monetary sector laws, a Deputy Governor at the BoG, Mr Millison Narh, said the bank had already commissioned a consultant to look at all laws governing the sector and make recommendations to it.
"Once those recommendations come, then we will know what to do," he said in an interview.
By Maxwell Adombila Akalaare, Accra