All financial remittances will be linked to the biometric information on recipients’ Ghana Card to help address issues of fraudulent accounts.
The Head of the Financial Division of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Sampson Akligoh, who disclosed this, said the move would come into effect after the integration of the Ghana card, the biometric national identification card, with major ID numbers in the country.
Currently, processes have started for the replacement of key ID numbers such as Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) and Social Security numbers with Ghana card numbers to be used as universal ID cards in the country.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ dialogue on remittances in Accra last Wednesday, Mr Akligoh said the linkage of accounts with biometric information would be augmented by the development of consumer protection regulations, particularly in the areas of disclosure for both inward and outbound remittances.
He said there was no consumer protection legislation specific to international money transfers, a situation that could make consumers at the receiving end vulnerable to additional undisclosed charges of transactions.
Mr Akligoh said the integration would also facilitate the flow of remittances through formal channels to low-income Ghanaians and people in rural areas, and, in the process, enhance the impact of remittances on economic growth and poverty reduction, while eliminating fraud.
“Encouraging remittances through banking channels can improve the development impact of remittances and encourage a saving culture among recipients, since remittances received as cash are less likely to be saved than those received through a bank account,” he said.
Mr Akligoh noted that whereas emigration from Ghana had slowed down over the last five years, in-bound remittances had seen a consistent growth, making Ghana the second largest receiver of such in sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria.
Improvement in access to remittance services, particularly in rural and remote areas, by encouraging the participation of microfinance institution, credit unions and saving banks (including postal saving schemes) in the remittance market, remained key, he said.
“Besides encouraging savings from remittances, these financial intermediaries can develop remittance-linked consumer or housing loans and insurance products. Therefore, existing regulations may need to be amended to allow these institutions to fully participate in providing remittance services,” Mr Akligoh said.
The event was organised by the German development cooperation, GIZ Ghana, under the Migration and Diaspora (PMD) Programme to mark International Family Day of Remittances.
It was on the theme: “Leveraging remittances for Recovery and Resilience post-COVID-19”.
Participants discussed ways in which remittances from Ghanaian migrants in the Diaspora could be leveraged for the nation’s economic recovery post- COVID-19.
The Chief of Mission at the Ghana Office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ms Ababatou Wane, noted that whereas Ghana had been focused on the creation of an inclusive digital payments ecosystem, there would be the need for the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the relevant bodies to develop a campaign around ‘banking the Diaspora’.
Diaspora bank accounts, she stressed, would open the market to channel more productive investments, as well as create opportunities, to introduce beneficiaries to a broader range of financial services, including savings and affordable insurance products.
Similarly, pay-out partners, Ms Wane emphasised, ought to take advantage of in-bound remittance transactions to offer financial literacy training to beneficiaries.
The Cluster coordinator, Network for Inclusive Economic Development at the Ghana Office of GIZ, Mr Gerald Guskowski, said remittances had become a major contributory factor to increasing household incomes, as well as the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
He pointed out that remittances could be life-changing, as they had become a solid resource base for leveraging human development, financial inclusion and investment in a productive capacity.
“In this sense, they are also a potentially stabilising factor for national currencies and can provide developing countries with lower borrowing costs by presenting them with a stable flow of foreign exchange 'collateral' to support economic growth,” Mr Guskowski said.