Veep launches 2nd phase of mobile money interoperability

BY: Chris Nunoo
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (right) launching the second phase of the Mobile Money Interoperability platform at a ceremony in Accra
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (right) launching the second phase of the Mobile Money Interoperability platform at a ceremony in Accra

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Wednesday launched the second phase of the mobile money interoperability.

The second phase marks the completion of the interconnection between mobile money wallets, the e-zwich payment system and the gh-link platforms of financial institutions, completing what has been termed as “the financial inclusion triangle.”

With this, customers can now conveniently move funds across all three platforms, which are their bank accounts, mobile money wallets and the e-zwich payment systems.

During the launch in Accra, the Vice President proposed that the coordinators of the platform worked to make mobile money merchants interoperable.

Mobile money merchants interoperability will make it possible for an operator of mobile money with one network to load electronic funds onto the wallets of all customers, regardless of their network.

Dr Bawumia said that would be the third phase under the mobile money interoperability platform.

“Currently, an agent needs to keep different accounts for each operator or mobile network to serve customers, so when the float of the agent runs out for a particular network, the agent is not able to serve customers even though electronic funds may be available on a different network,” Dr Bawumia explained.

He said, for instance, that mobile money agents turned away customers not because they did not want to serve them but because they could not use their float (available money in the wallet) for one network operator for another.

He, therefore, urged the coordinating institutions such as GhIPSS, the telecommunications and the financial institutions, including the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Financial Technology (Fintech) companies, to work together to fix the third challenge of making merchant accounts interoperable.

“I know the capability of GhIPSS, the telcos, the BoG, Fintechs  and the financial institutions and I have no doubt that this phase three request will equally be executed with excellence.” he emphasised.

Electronic payment

The Vice-President further called on Ghanaians to adopt electronic payment as a way of life and said “we are in an era of electronic payment and we have no choice but to go with the tide.”

He further expressed the hope that all payments to government agencies would be electronic by the second quarter of next year.

That, he explained, was because the level of interoperability achieved by the country must encourage the acceptance of payments for statutory fees and taxes through mobile money and e-zwich.

What the country needed, according to him, was administrative systems and processes that would recognise the use of the two as formal ways of making payments.

 “Ghana is on a clear path of progress and the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is leaving nothing to chance, in ensuring that the transformation agenda is truly holistic,” he stressed.

The Vice-President, however, asked for a reconsideration of the ceiling on the amount of money that could be transferred daily through mobile money wallets, taking cognisance of the attendant security issues to ensure that the system was not compromised.

Dr Bawumia commended the team from GhIPSS, the telecom operators and the financial institutions, including the BoG and several other partner institutions that worked on both the first and second phases of the project.

Governor

The Governor of the BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, said transactions on the interoperable platform since the first phase had increased from over 96,000 to 319,000 in September, more than 200 per cent growth.

Similarly, transaction values as of May, he said, had also increased from GH¢8.3 million to GH¢32.6 million in September, a growth trend which he indicated was expected to increase when the second phase became fully operational with other innovative products and services coming on board.

Dr Addison added that the coming on board of phase two marked another milestone in deepening financial integration and education, while digitising the economy and levelling the playing field for both the banked and the unbanked.

GhIPSS

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GhIPSS, Mr Archie Hesse, for his part, commended the various stakeholders who worked tirelessly to make the second phase possible.

He expressed the hope that individuals and businesses would embrace the electronic platforms since that would give a true meaning to the financial inclusion agenda.

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