First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the effectiveness and resilience of Ghana’s financial inclusion efforts.
But the BoG, he said, adopted measures to swiftly respond to the policy gap exposed by the virus.
In general, he added, the strategies and the specific COVID-19 interventions have proven to be effective.
He said thses in a speech during a ‘Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) Conference’ on Tuesday April 20.
“Notwithstanding, the crisis has exposed some gaps in policies and underscored the need to revise strategies to improve their usefulness. In response, the Bank has implemented a number of policies to accelerate digital financial inclusion in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on individuals, businesses and governments. Among the measures implemented by the Bank are: Tiered Licence Categories
“The Bank in July 2020 published a Licence Application Pack under Notice Number BG/GOV/SEC/07 which provides for various licence categories for payment service providers.
With this licensing framework, the Bank aims to promote an inclusive environment for competitive offering of innovative digital financial services targeting diverse customer groups in the Ghanaian society. This is expected to boost competition and promote financial inclusion through wide offering of digital financial services.
“Merchant Account Categorisation: An important policy intervention that has been made by the Bank to accelerate financial inclusion is the publication of Merchant Account Categories. In spite of the 14% increase in active merchants, it was observed that the requirements for
onboarding merchants was steep, onerous and unfriendly to small and medium enterprises, which constitute about 90% of businesses in the country. This situation limits the feasible use cases of digital payment instruments for paying for goods and services. Also, businesses of merchants in the SME category suffered on account of their inability to meet the requirements for establishing merchant accounts. As a consequence, a three tiered merchant account framework was published by the Bank for a more inclusive digital payment acceptance.
“GhQR: Further to that, you may recall that the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) introduced the first national QR Code payment solution on the continent amidst the pandemic, and shortly after the maiden MT4D conference. With a goal of simplifying merchant payment and reducing the use of cash, this unified solution has been made available to banks and payment service providers in Ghana. With the introduction of the new merchant account categories, we look forward to seeing merchants of all sizes, even small food vendors, accepting payments through
GhQR: Crowdfund Policy Ladies and Gentlemen, while new business models are being explored to promote financial inclusion, the Bank is also facilitating modernization of indigenous financial services such as “susu” with digital tools. It is for this reason that the Bank issued the Crowdfunding Policy. The policy is expected to encourage clubs, associations, market women and farmers to work with entities approved and licensed by the Bank of Ghana to provide refined susu services for our people without the need for much physical contact and with strong controls to guarantee safety of resources of participant.