A central database to register all merchants of telecom companies in the country is being developed as part of measures to sanitise the industry and check fraud. It is expected to be rolled out by the first quarter of next year.
To be christened: Merchant Registry Database, the move is expected to, among other things, help monitor and control the activities of all merchants as well as help deal with emergencies with regard to the discharge of their duties.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (Telecoms Chamber), Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, who elaborated on the working of the registry, said, “what we are doing now is being facilitated by the Bank of Ghana but will be managed by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
This was after a workshop, under the auspices of the telecoms Chamber, was organised for members of the Network of Communications Reporters (NCR), Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA) and other reporters with interest in telecoms reporting at the weekend.
Mobile money fraud
The setting up of the registry is coming at a time when some merchants, particularly mobile money operators, of the telecom companies are using fraudulent means to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
The criminal activities of such merchants is gradually reducing the level of confidence in the cashless transactions and transfer of funds through the mobile money platforms. This is because people are losing thousands of Ghana cedis on a daily basis.
Although these criminals are reported to the telcos and the police, they are mostly unable to do much because of the lack of proper information on the fraudsters.
But Mr Ashigbey was confident that the registry will help facilitate the work of the security forces.
“All the merchants will be on the platform and we will also capture all their locations into the system”, he said.
According to Mr Ashigbey, the situation where merchants move from one telco to another after they have been detected to have engaged in any fraud will be a thing of the past.
“With the registry, a merchant found to have abused the system will be blacklisted and cannot work with any of the telcos”, he said.
Mr Ashigbey said the telcos were concerned about the abuses in the system which goes to undermine the efforts of the MNOs to help facilitate cashless transactions in the country.
He maintained that the registry would benefit both the merchants and the customers on one side and the telcos on the other.