Mobile Money Agents demand transparency from telcos

BY: Victor Kwawukume
The MMAAG is calling for transparency from the telcos
The MMAAG is calling for transparency from the telcos

The Mobile Money Agents Association of Ghana (MMAAG) is calling on the various telecommunication companies (telcos) to be transparent in their dealings with the association to enhance the delivery of mobile money service to Ghanaians.

According to the association, made up of about 95,000 members across the country, it had observed that the telcos tended to make deductions from what was paid to members of the association as commission without openly disclosing the modality for that deduction.

It, has, therefore, called for more transparency in declaring how much was deducted and the method used in arriving at the amount.

Speaking in an interview with the Graphic Business, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of MMAAG, Mr Charles Kwesi Addo, said members of the association transacted business with their own capital and were not given any financial input by the telcos.­ For that matter, it was only fair that the association was consulted on key decisions that affected them.

Payment Act

According to Mr Addo, the telcos had notified them of the imminent passage of a Payment Act that aimed to effectively curtail third party transactions and for that matter annul the role of mobile money agents but added that as key stakeholders they had not been consulted, stressing that if that should be the case, then the passage of the act might not be effective on the ground.

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He said the MMAAG also wanted disclosure on how much was paid to mobile money agents as commission in order to help streamline the relationship between the telcos on one hand and the public on the other.

Mr Addo stated that members of the association had to pay a number of taxes, including withholding tax, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levy, and another levy charged by the respective metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).

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After all those payments, he added that the telcos would in addition make deductions from the commission paid to them, thereby leaving them with paltry sums as income after they had invested their own capital in the business.

Insurance cover

In a related development, the MMAAG is asking the telcos to provide them insurance cover since the mobile money business was a risky one and, therefore, required the formulation and implementation of an insurance policy to cushion merchants.

They noted that the upsurge of armed robbery attacks on merchants had put fear into majority of their 95,000 members across the country as there were no protection for their lives and operations.

According to them, they had become a target of robbery and fraud, adding that while it was their wish to work deep into the night to enable the public to have access to money during emergencies, the absence of an insurance policy to cover them was preventing most of the members from doing so.

The association, therefore, suggested that premiums for the insurance could be shared among the telecom operators and the mobile money agents, since the operators provided the system for the transactions while they provided the cash for the business.

They also appealed to the telcos to make their withholding tax certificates available to them after making deductions from their commission to ensure that they did not suffer double payment of the same tax.

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