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Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for taking the time to join us online today to discuss the Payment Systems and Services Act, 2019 (Act 987).
This forum is aimed at developing shared understanding of this enabling piece of legislation for orderly and sustainable development of a digital financial ecosystem that is competitive, safe, efficient and inclusive.
Act 987 is a product of active collaboration between Bank of Ghana and public and private sector stakeholders including; Ministry of Finance, Attorney General’s Department, National Communications Authority, Ghana Association of Bankers, Telecoms Chamber, FinTech Chamber and development partners. On behalf of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, I would like to express the Bank’s profound appreciation for your immense support that has made this endeavor possible.
As you may be aware, this workshop was initially scheduled for March 2020, with the intention of having all participants in one location and under one roof. However, this arrangement was not fated to be. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled rescheduling and a choice of new venue in the virtual space. This foisted choice of virtual venue is heartening as it sets the right stage for discussions with entities whose arena of activity is largely in the cyber space.
Over the past decade, the Ghanaian economy has undergone phenomenal transformation as a result of growing adoption of digital technology. Individuals, businesses and government have shown strong preference for digital payments for reasons of convenience, efficiency, speed, affordability, round the clock availability, and robust audit trail. Besides the evolving consumer preferences, digital innovations have proven capability for tackling the nagging financial exclusion problems as evidenced by the tremendous success of mobile money in Ghana.
Commencing with the Branchless Banking Guidelines in 2008, the Bank has continuously evolved policies to harness the potential of technology for efficient, affordable and inclusive financial sector development.
In 2015 the Bank issued the Electronic Money Issuers and Agent Guidelines in replacement of the Branchless Banking Guidelines, and marked a departure from bank-based approach to financial service delivery.
The narrow target of Electronic Money Issuers Guidelines meant that Fintechs which were not electronic money issuers were regulated out of the ecosystem.
With the enactment of Act 987, the Bank of Ghana has once again demonstrated leadership and foresight in creating the enabling environment for competitive, innovative and inclusive development of the financial sector.
In addition, Bank of Ghana, through the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), has facilitated implementation of a portfolio of modern and robust interbank payments systems.
These systems include e-zwich, GIP, ACH, GH-Link and Mobile Money Interoperability and establish the foundation for nationwide digital delivery of financial services.
The role of Fintechs in innovating on these infrastructures to meet various needs of society is paramount. We look forward to seeing deep collaboration between GhIPSS and Fintechs (Payment Service Providers) to harness the potential of these systems for the benefits of society.
As a Bank, our commitment doesn’t end there. We’re still actively working on establishing a Sandbox to promote innovation in the market, and test concepts such as a Central Bank Digital Currency.
Finally, we’ve also continued to evolve our own organizational structure in response to the dynamic nature of the sector. Before 2016, the payments sector was managed from a unit within our Banking Department.
We subsequently established the Payment Systems Department in 2016 to adequately supervise a growing mobile money sector, in addition to ensuring an effective payment system. This year, as a further commitment to promote FinTech, we have established the FinTech and Innovation office to supervise and promote the activities of FinTechs in Ghana.
Hopefully, you have heard recent announcements of license application approvals for some Payment Service Providers. We will continue to work with you to ensure that you are taken through the licensing process to enable you deliver value to consumers and the broader the financial sector.
This workshop is not just an opportunity for us to give you the highlights of the law, the licensing requirements, and the application process.
It is also an opportunity for us to get feedback from you as to how the industry is evolving, and how this can be reflected in our laws, regulations and supervisory requirements.
I encourage everyone to actively participate in this workshop. Continue to engage with us even after this workshop, on how we can continue to promote the Fintech agenda in Ghana.
Thank you very much and I wish you all a fruitful discussion.
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