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Graphic Business-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting tomorrow: Panellists to discuss E-service implications on economy

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Adoma Owusu, Country Manager, VISA Ghana
Adoma Owusu, Country Manager, VISA Ghana

The quarterly Graphic Business-Stanbic Breakfast Meeting meant to discuss the impact of E-services on the lives of people, businesses and the economy as a whole, will take place at the Labadi Beach Hotel on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

It is on the theme: “Integration of E-service into our economy - Implications for economic growth and quality of life”.

The event, which is the first of four for the year, will attract captains of industry, business leaders and groups, the academia and communications experts, among others.

The meeting, which has become one of the most sought-after thought-leadership events in the country, is meant, among other things, to set the stage for broader discussions on how E-services within the public and private sectors are impacting the economy and changing lives.

It will also discusss the challenges and way forward to make E-services a major game changer for growth.

This edition will be chaired by the Country Manager, VISA Ghana, Adoma Owusu, who will be supported by three industry experts.

They are; Technology Planner in the Digital Financial Services industry, Fred Frimpong; Financial Services and Technology Professional, Francis Appiah; and a Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Ghana, William Kofi Owusu Demitia.

E-Services laudable

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Appiah said: “Leveraging digital transformation gives us a unique opportunity to take advantage of the information age as a way to improve revenue at the national level.

It will also help to create new economic opportunities, drive efficiency, improve livelihoods and wellbeing and ultimately accelerate economic growth”.

Meanwhile, members of the public, particularly traders, have welcomed the introduction of E-services offered by the government and its agencies and some businesses in the country.

The said E-services had made transactions easier and faster.

They also said services online had helped to reduce the cost of doing business and also done away with the cumbersome processes they had to go through to access service.

Speaking in separate interviews ahead of the meeting on March 22, 2022, some traders at Kaneshie and Abossey Okai, a spare parts trading hub in Accra, lauded the growth of E-services in the country.

They were convinced that this had come to stay, hence the need for all to adjust and make it work.

The Public Relations Officer of the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association, Eric Okyere Antwi, said E-service had enabled instant payments.

“Making payments is now convenient such that I can sit in my shop here and make payments.

Confirming payment is now easily done on phone unlike previously when one had to go to the bank to find out if such deposits had been made,” he said, when the paper sought the views of the public on the impact of E-services on their business ahead of the meeting.

Impact of E-services

A trader, Brenda Adofo Morrison, said E-service has helped to eliminate to a large extent, middlemen in the business chain also known as “affairs boys or goro boys”.

She said such middlemen made it difficult for us to deal directly with customers but now electronic platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, “have helped us to reach our customers.”

Now we are using new technologies such as internet, computers and smartphones to reach our clients. It is a huge game-changer and saves time,” she said.

She said traders also get the chance to perform their civic duty of filing taxes through E-service platforms provided by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Another trader, Salomey Abankwah, said she was able to conveniently save her money without losing it or having to join long queues in the banking halls just to save money.

“Even if I should lose my phone, I can still get a new subscriber identity module (SIM) card from my service provider and my money will still be intact and I can continue to trade,” she said.

Challenges

Much as they lauded the services provided online, they also revealed some challenges.

For instance, according to Mr Antwi, the main challenge with E-services has to do with unstable network for both local and international transfers.

“Those of us who normally do the international transfers, there are times that we encounter such problems. It even happens with the local transfers,” he said.

Some of them also complained about the cost of data and mobile money payment fraudsters and hackers who target accounts that had large amounts.

Digital economy challenge

The opinions gauged by the Graphic Business gave credence to the fact that Ghana’s economy was increasingly becoming digital, with more businesses taking advantage of technology to reach more customers and also serve them better.

Backed by a burgeoning Fintech ecosystem, new opportunities are emerging by the day, albeit with its attendant challenges.

The meeting, which starts at exactly 7am, will bring together experts with varied backgrounds to discuss E-services.