Develop single SIM card for all mobile money wallets – Veep

Vice President Bawumia and other officials  at the ceremony

Vice President Bawumia and other officials at the ceremony

The Vice President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has tasked the partners in the roll-out of the Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) project to develop an additional platform that will enable mobile money agents use only one SIM card to load funds onto the wallet of mobile money customers of all telecommunication networks.


He said the current situation where agents keep different float of accounts for each operator to serve customers was inefficient and affects the agent’s output and profitability as well as an impediment to the cash-lite agenda of government.


“An agent currently needs to keep different float accounts for each operator to serve customers. So, when the float of the agent for a particular operator runs out, the agent is not able to serve customers from that operator even though he or she may have electronic funds sitting idle on another network. So you see agents are forced to turn away customers because they simply cannot use the float they have for one network operator for another. I propose mobile money agent or merchant interoperability that will make it possible for an operator, agent or merchant with one phone and SIM, to be able to load electronic funds onto the wallet of the customer regardless of the network,” he stated.


Dr Bawumia was speaking in Accra yesterday when he launched the Phase II of the MMI project, which involved the interconnection of mobile money and e-zwich platform to the Ghana National Switch (gh-link system) to allow customers to move funds across bank accounts, mobile money wallets and e-zwich cards.


He called on the Ghana Inter-bank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPPS), Bank of Ghana, the three mobile money operators, MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana and Airtel/Tigo as well as financial institutions, who are the project partners, to work towards an interoperable mobile money agents, which he termed as the Phase III of the MMI project.


The completion of MMI Phase II, dubbed ‘the Financial Inclusion Triangle’ because it interconnects three payment platforms, he said was expected to create convenience and remove the constraints people face in trying to move funds around in real time.


He said the project which was in sync with other programmes by the government to quicken the digitisation of the economy, would improve financial inclusion by bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked and further enable free flow of funds between and among all the three platforms.


The quick flow of funds enabled by the universal interoperability, Dr Bawumia explained that, would also translate into quick turnaround for businesses as producers, wholesalers and retailers could receive funds in real time in order to deliver the goods to customers, regardless of which part of the country, they find themselves.


In this regard, he urged for a review of the cap placed on the amount of money that could be transferred daily via mobile money as well as attendant security to ensure that the system was not compromised to give people and businesses the latitude to send and receive more money across the platforms.


With the level of interoperability achieved, Dr Bawumia stated that “there is no reason why we cannot begin as a country to accept payments for statutory fees and taxes through mobile money and e-zwich” adding that as announced in the 2019 Budget, all payments to government agencies would be electronic by the second quarter of next year.


He said the government would leave nothing to chance in ensuring that the transformation agenda was truly holistic and urged the public to adopt electronic payment as a way of life.


Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison, said since the launch of the roll out of the MMI project in May this year mobile money transactions volumes increased from 96,000 to 390,000 in September while transactions value jumped from GH¢8.3 million to GH¢32.6 million within the same period.


He said the BoG has drafted guidelines on operations of electronic payment channels, which would provide the framework for the effective management and security of all transactions across the various platforms.


The BoG, he added that, would intensify monitoring and regulatory activities to ensure that the right practices were adhered to by the various players.


Mr Archie Hesse, Chief Executive Officer, GhIPSS, said the growth of transaction volumes was indicative that the MMI project was a necessity, adding that GhiPSS would continue to offer wide range of services for improved financial transactions.

By Claude Nyarko Adams


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