The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has issued new Guidelines--the Electronic-Money Issuers (EMI Guidelines) and Agent Guidelines to regulate Mobile Financial Services in the country, Mrs Elly Ohene-Adu, Head of Banking Operations, BoG, has disclosed.
Mrs Ohene-Adu said the Guidelines, which replaced the Branchless Banking Guidelines of 2008, were part of the broad strategy of BoG to create an enabling regulatory environment for convenient, efficient and safe retail payments and fund transfer mechanisms.
She said the Guidelines were designed to promote the use of agents as channels for the delivery of financial services and to specify the necessary controls to mitigate associated risks and protect consumers of financial services.
Mrs Ohene-Adu, who was speaking at a Mobile Money Stakeholder Conference in Accra, yesterday, described Mobile Money as an opportunity for banks, other deposit-taking financial institutions and insurance companies to cross-sell banking, insurance and other financial products.
She said Mobile Money services were playing an important role in extending financial services to the unbanked and underserved populations.
She, however, urged operators of the service to ensure customer protection by operating in accordance with the rules set out in the EMI Guidelines and within the principles of transparency, responsible pricing, fair and respectful treatment of clients and within the mechanisms for complaint resolution.
In a presentation, Mr Ebenezer Asante, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MTN Ghana, said Mobile Money, apart from extending financial services to the poor, was also expected to improve productivity by increasing efficiencies, lowering the cost of transactions, improving security, generating new employment opportunities and creating a platform on which other businesses could grow.
Mr Asante said government's adoption of Mobile Money could improve its ability to monitor financial flows and reduce illicit activities, adding that the use of Mobile Money in salary disbursements could also be an enormous driver of the service throughout the economy as a whole.
He, therefore, advocated active governmental partnership, adding that government's support through policy direction, especially in the area of tax holidays, would significantly promote the growth of mobile wallet transactions and, for that matter, cashless payment.
For his part, Mr Louis Amenyo Adanuty, CEO of TEKSOL Ghana, endorsed the claim that Mobile Money was one of the best services to bring the unbanked into the banking system. Mr Adanuty said the potential of the benefits of Mobile Money platform was great and appealed for support in the development of applications that could make the use of the Mobile Money platform easier and more efficient, and effective.
Mr Yoofi Grant, a Director of Databank Financial Services Ltd., added his voice to the view that Mobile Money facilitated business at less cost.
Mr Myles Christian Hagan, Head of E-Channels, Universal Merchant Bank, in his remarks, said the provision of financial services through a Mobile Money medium had facilitated a significant growth in financial inclusion in Ghana.
MTN introduced the first Mobile Money service to the Ghanaian market six years ago in 2009 and the celebration of Mobile Money Month was launched two years after in 2011, and remains an annual event since.
Initially, MTN Mobile Money offered a few services such as money transfer and airtime top-up, but four years after the launch of the MTN Mobile Money Month, the service has registered 4.8 million customers, 19, 500 Mobile Money merchants and 18.5 million transactions.
This year's edition of MTN Mobile Money Month is being organized on the theme: Mobile Money: Driving Financial Inclusion in Ghana'.
Activities lined up for the month-long celebration include MTN Mobile Money Stakeholder Workshop, SME Drive, Market Activations and Merchant Fora.
The Stakeholder Conference, which took place in Accra, yesterday, was organized on the theme: 'Maximizing the Potential of Mobile Money to drive Financial Inclusion in Ghana'.