GHANA: Define role of GhIPSS in payment system space

General Manager of the Mobile Money Division at MTN Ghana, Eli Hini, is calling for the role of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) in the country’s payment system to be appropriately defined.

This follows the establishment of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) with a mandate to implement and manage interoperable payment system infrastructures for banks and non-bank financial institutions in Ghana.

But industry experts in the payment system, such as Eli Hini say there is a lack of clarity concerning what functions GhIPSS performs specifically with the passage of the Payment Systems and Services Act, which regulates the activities of payment services providers.

“Just like we have defined Electronic Money Issuers and what they can do, financial technology companies etc., the role of GhIPSS needs to be properly defined so that we understand what they are expected to do and they are not to do; and what they add to the whole Payment Systems and Services Act implementation,” he told Citi Business News.

“As an industry, that conversation needs to be had. We need to make sure that we have clarified everything with their role so we avoid any ambiguity in that matter,” Mr Hini added.

Meanwhile, other industry experts have raised concerns about the role of GhIPSS and the fact that while the company operates and manages payment and settlement systems, it still offers its own products to mobile network operators and banks at a fee.

Additionally, GhIPSS has implemented and currently manages the National Switch & Biometric Smart Card Payment System- “e-zwich”, Cheque Codeline Clearing (CCC) System, Ghana Automated Clearing House (GACH) systems- Direct Credit & Direct Debit and the National Switching and Processing System- “gh-link”.

These products, according to industry experts, contests against the very companies that GhIPSS regulates, resulting in a situation where the company is a regulator as well as a player in the same industry space.

Ghana will in the coming weeks launch the Universal Quick Response Code that will allow Ghanaians to use smart or non-mobile phones to make payments.

According to Vice President, Dr. Bawumia, Ghana will be the first country in Africa to use the Universal QR code payment system with the technology being implemented and managed by the GhIPSS.