President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that he is encouraged by the offer of partnership by the Mobile Money Agents Association of Ghana (MAAG) to ensure that the electronic transactions levy (E-Levy) is successfully administered.
He said it was appropriate that direct stakeholders such as the association voiced their concerns as they did initially and those concerns were taken into account by the government so that when the law was finally shaped, it was meaningful for the state and the private sector.
President Akufo-Addo stated this when the National Executive of the 300,000-member MAAG paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House in Accra.
“I welcome very much this offer of partnership, the idea of an alliance to work together to see how best the new tax can be implemented and developed,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
Regarding the request by the association for some of its members to be on the boards of other state institutions and bodies, the President said although most of such boards were regulatory in nature and thus could not have the very people they regulated as board members, the government would see how best it could meet them half way.
“The more cooperation we have in the running of the economy, between the government and the private sector, the better it is for the economy and for the people of this country,” he assured.
President Akufo-Addo said the government would find effective ways of responding rigorously to the criminal syndicates that were attacking the mobile money operators because if they were allowed to go ahead it would be a major defeat for the government and Ghanaians in general.
He described as unacceptable the attacks on mobile money operators by criminal elements, describing the situation as detrimental to the growth of such legitimate market.
“I want to assure you whatever can be done as a state to create an atmosphere of peace and stability for you to be able to do your work”, he said.
President Akufo-Addo assured the executive of the association that contacts would be made with them, especially the security agencies, so that together they would work out effective ways of dealing with criminal interferences.
The President of the association, Dela Abotsi, expressed worry that since the introduction of mobile money transfer over a decade a ago, their rate had remained the same and never increased and asked the President to intervene, especially in instances when the vendors were attacked even to death, the telcos did not offer any assistance.
He gave instances where some of their members who were breadwinners for their families had been attacked and killed by armed robbers and there had been no assistance from any quarters.
The Secretary of the Association, Evans Otumfuo, commended the government for the digitisation drive that had culminated in the introduction of the Mobile Money Interoperability which had impacted positively on users of MoMo and earned Ghana the first African country to achieve such a feat.
He also mentioned the introduction of a QR-CODE payment system, the electronic renewal of the NHIS, among others which were all heavily dependent on mobile money and had boosted their businesses.
He also mentioned the recent national roaming system, the SIM card registration which would eliminate identity theft and fraud and added that “As business people, we have a soft spot for your policies that directly or indirectly affect our operations spheres.”
“Despite our earlier resistance to E-Levy, we also understand that government will have to take drastic measures in drastic times,” Mr Otumfuo said, and added that the E-Levy had now been passed into law and all citizens must obey, “so we are here as allies and not opposing forces”.
He commended the government for taking bold steps to reduce the electronic transactions levy from the initial 1.75 per cent to 1.5 per cent and the tall list of exemptions provided by the E-Levy.
Mr Otumfuo indicated that the existence of this union meant that all the over 300,000 Mobile Money agents across the country were under one umbrella to properly position themselves with policymakers, regulators, telecommunication networks and the government.
“The association has a database of all our members and as such, each member has a unique 7-digit number serving as a membership ID,” he added.