Eric Kortey, General Manager, Cellulant Ghana, making a  presentation at the event. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Eric Kortey, General Manager, Cellulant Ghana, making a presentation at the event. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

Reduce E-levy to boost digital payments — Stakeholders

Stakeholders at an MTN “momo” forum in Accra have entreated the government to further reduce E-levy charges which they said were a major bottleneck to digital payments in the country. 

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Speaking on the theme: “Addressing barriers to digital payments in Ghana,” the General Manager of Cellulant Ghana Limited, Eric Kortey, said if transaction fees were reduced and incentives instituted for consumers, it would help address barriers in the adoption of digital payments.

“This payment system provides such a volume-based business — you either keep the cost high and get less or you reduce it and get more.

“Since we want to increase digital adoption, reducing E-levy charges would help address such barriers.

“Although the country has made significant gains in creating access to digital financial services and smartphone penetration, a good proportion of the population are unable to access and participate in what is available,” he said.  

Statistics

According to the FinTech office at the Bank of Ghana, statistics showed that the percentage of active mobile money accounts to registered mobile money accounts reduced from 38.8 per cent in June 2021, to 37.0 per cent in June 2023.

On the other hand, the total number of transactions had increased by 40.7 per cent between June 2022 and June 2023 with a value increase of 71.7 per cent, while transaction increased by 17 per cent between June 2021 and June 2022, with a value decline of 7.6 per cent.    

The Head of FinTech and Innovation at BoG, Kwame Oppong, said the central bank remained committed to working with stakeholders to resolve barriers in digital payments in the country.

“When mobile money was growing, the banking ecosystem also grew.

It has been a potent vehicle for this growth and for achieving financial inclusion objectives; we are very mindful of that,” he said.

He said that service providers must have a simplified on-boarding that improves access to basic services, consumer education to empower consumers, customer recourse mechanisms to build consumer’s trust, data privacy and protection to secure and ensure the right of customers were not violated, as well as market supervision to ensure safety of consumers.

“Create an innovative regulatory framework that can help you achieve your objectives in terms of serving consumers, and also able to help us achieve our political goals of financial inclusion and a cashless society,” Mr Oppong said, adding that competition in the market should not be destructive.

Knowledge barrier

The Chief Executive Officer of Eagle Innovation, Winifred Kotin, said the country had about 69.8 per cent of literacy rate, with zero per cent in basic ICT skills and 32 per cent financial literacy rate.

She, therefore, stressed the need for service providers to use indigenous languages which are community-based and easy to relate to by customers.

She also called for innovative value-added services for retention and accelerated growth of MSMEs.

The Chief Operating Officer of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GHIPSS), Achie Hesse, also said that there was the need to engage the fintech industry in decision-making, saying “they are the driving force of the digital space and we should have a better relationship and continuous workshops to boost the works of the fintech industry”.

For her part, the Head of Products and Services of Mobile Money Limited, Sylvia Otuo-Acheampong, said the introduction of E-levy led to a significant drop in their revenue and that when it was reduced, there was a corresponding uplift, adding “it shows you that customers are sensitive to pricing”.

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