The Bank of Ghana has revealed plans to enable patrons of commercial vehicle, “tro-tro,” pay their transportation fare via digital means after the passage of Payment System and Service Bill is passed by Parliament.
Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana, Dr Maxwell Opoku Afari, who disclosed this explained that, “If you are going to board a tro-tro all you need to do is just ask for the mobile money number of the driver, then you transfer the payment.
“This innovation will curtail the occasional scuffle between passengers and conductors over few Cedis change”.
Speaking on a topic: Innovative Financial Service for Business and SME’s Development, at a symposium held at the University of Ghana, Dr Afari noted that the regulation would allow most traditional payments to be done digitally and would change payment in Ghana and reduce queues at the banking halls.
”Last year, we organised a stakeholders forum to discuss and review the Electronic Management Guidelines and Payment System Act and consolidated it into one piece of legislation which is now called the Payment System and Services bill. We have met the economic management team to make a case for the passage of the bill,” he mentioned.
The Bill, therefore, seeks to promote the availability and acceptance of electronic money and other forms of payment services as a retail payment medium.
It also seeks to create an enabling regulatory environment for convenient, efficient and safe retail payment and funds transfer mechanisms as well as provide the necessary safeguards and controls to mitigate the risks associated with electronic money business and other payment services.
The Deputy Governor said the Bank of Ghana had observed that the public had shown interest and appreciated recent innovative ways using technology to transact business.
He said after the introduction of formal banking in Ghana over 60 years ago, only 11.4 million out of the about 28 million Ghanaians had bank accounts.
He noted however that after the institution of electronic money issuance guidelines in 2015, over 23 million people now have mobile money accounts “if we consider that as an account”.
He said penetrating into low-income communities by banks had been hindered by the high cost of building and rentals as well as operational overhead cost.
Dr Afari noted that while brick-and-mortar branches were expensive for banks to maintain in rural and deprived communities, the cost of travelling to urban areas was also high for many rural customers.
”The institution of electronic money issuance guidelines, the payment system in 2015 which sought to promote and supervise electronic and other payments, will help in funds transfer, clearing and settlement systems and has helped the Telecom’s to collaborate with banks to provide financial service to people especially SMEs.
The high prevalence of mobile phones and other electronic devices have made it convenient to expand access to financial services across the country,” he argued.