Business News of Tue, 18 Aug 20154
Mobile money booths out-number bank branches
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Mr Ebenezer Asante, says the new Bank of Ghana (BoG) guidelines that empower non-banking institutions such as mobile money operators to participate in the delivery of financial services in the country would encourage usage and drive financial inclusion.
He, however, suggested that the BoG should partner with mobile operators to create more awareness to drive electronic payments which are key to promoting financial inclusion.
Mr Asante was speaking at a stakeholder’s workshop on mobile money in Accra on August 12. He said tax holidays and other related subsidies and reliefs must be extended to mobile financial services in order to stimulate usage.
Statistics available from the BoG indicate that financial inclusion in Ghana has increased by 16 per cent from 2010 to 2014, whereas access to banks has risen by nine per cent, with access to informal mechanisms falling by 60 per cent.
Mobile money had the greatest increase in access, as it rose from seven per cent to 20 per cent within the period.
Mr Asante said the contribution of MTN Mobile money to this increase could not be overemp
hasised, as it had grown from a subscriber base of about 5,000 in 2009 to about 4.8 million as of the end of July, 2015.
He said the service now boasted of a monthly transaction in excess of GH¢18.5 million.
“As I speak, there are over 19,500 MTN mobile money agents as compared to 967 bank branches and 1,316 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) nationwide,” he said.
This indicates that in terms of reach and access, mobile money provided huge opportunity to deliver financial services to all segments of the Ghanaian society.
He was, however, quick to acknowledge the support the system received from stakeholders, especially partner banks.
“I would like to commend our partner banks for their collaboration in making mobile money a success story in Ghana. We couldn’t have made it without them,” he stated.
Mr Asante also noted that despite the achievements so far, there were still many hurdles that were impeding the growth of the service.
He said many Ghanaians still preferred to transact in hard currency other than using electronic mediums.
The Director of Banking Services at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mrs Elly Ohene Adu, for her part said the mobile phone was a versatile tool that must be exploited to the fullest to achieve the goals of all stakeholders including banks, mobile network operators, insurance companies, investment companies, microfinance institutions and the ordinary Ghanaian.
"Everyone stands to benefit from the use of mobile phone in financial service delivery,” she added.
She explained that mobile money services held the promise for economic development particularly in areas of employment generation, wealth creation, poverty reduction and overall improvement in welfare and the general standard of living of people in the country.
Mrs Adu said the Bank of Ghana was committed to the development of sound, transparent and responsible practices that were customer focused.