GH¢4.6 billion interoperability claim “false” - Dr Johnson Asiama

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Former second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Johnson Asiama
Former second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Johnson Asiama

Former second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Johnson Asiama has refuted claims that some GH¢4.6 billion of the tax payers money was to be spent on the implementation of the Ghana Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure.

He said Sibton switch, was selected through due process to execute the contract using a self-financing mechanism to raise the GH¢4.6 billion on their own to build a robust interface intended to ensure efficiency and safety.

“I want to put it on record that the right thing was done concerning the procurement process and nothing untoward was done because so far as I know, no tax payer’s money was committed to the project.”

Dr Asiama was speaking to the media in Accra on Monday May 14 to address claims that the mobile money interoperability project which was executed by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) was to cost the tax payer some GH¢4.6 billion if it was implemented by Sibton Switch.

Read also: Bawumia launches Mobile Money Interoperability service

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Project scope differ

Dr Asiama said the scope of the second project, that has been implemented by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) was unknown to him and could therefore not make meaningful comparison between the two but insisted that the contract between the BoG and Sibton Switch was value for money. 

“We need to know the scope of the two projects and see the difference and that is the only time we can compare, and even with that, one would have to make some projections, for instance, how many people are going to use the system and over how many years”

Dr Asiama however indicated that an earlier statement, purported to have been issued by Dr. Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku contained the facts of the project.

Read also: Claims that NDC was to commit GH¢4.6 billion to 'MoMo' transactions false

Interoperability System

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on May 10 launched of the Mobile Money Payment Interoperability System and reignited debates over the project cost.

In 2016, it was reported that BoG had swerved its own subsidiary, GhIPSS and had awarded Sibton Switch a contract to build a system which would serve as a single window for all e-payment transactions.

A move that was condemned by the telecom companies, with many arguing the contract sum was despicably high.

However, launching the project on May 10, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia indicated that the government has cut down the cost of the project from GH¢4.6 billion to less than $4 million.

The system is expected to largely eliminate the difficulties associated with traditional banking services, such as the difficulty in opening bank accounts, the high costs associated with maintaining a bank account, the need to have basic literacy, administration and record keeping abilities and English-language capacity to operate a bank account, and the sheer intimidating nature of banking halls among others.

With the implementation of the system, customers would be able to move money from mobile money platform to mobile money accounts across different networks.

Also, mobile money customers can move money from their mobile money accounts to a bank account without any hassle, and customers could move money from their bank accounts to any mobile money account.