Pres’ e-zwich payment to workers receives thumbs-up

ezwichPresident John Dramani Mahama has been commended for giving an indication that other public sector workers will soon be paid on the biometric e-zwich card.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, (GhIPSS), Mr. Archie Hesse who gave the commendation in an interview with Times Business in Accra yesterday said such a move would greatly contribute to reduce if not eliminate payroll fraud.

President Mahama speaking at the opening of a two day High Level Conference on National Anti-corruption Action Plan in Accra gave the hint about plans of paying other public sector workers through the e-zwich card.

The president noted that the National Service Secretariat was going to start paying allowances through the e-zwich and subsequently extend it to cover all government subvented organisations.

This decision, the President said was part of the effort to fight corruption.

The GhIPSS CEO said his outfit was ready to accomplish the task.

Mr. Hesse said the biometric features of the e-zwich card made it impossible for multiple payments of salaries and people who did not exist could not cash monies paid them, since a live finger was required to access monies paid onto the e-zwich card.

He said apart from fighting payroll fraud, paying public sector workers through the biometric payments system would also play a monumental role in ushering Ghana into an electronic payment regime.

He explained that if public sector workers get part of their salaries on their e-zwich card, then there would be greater motivation for them to use the cards to shop, rather than using cash.

Additionally, he said, ATM associated fraud was avoided because, it does not use pin numbers but a live finger to authenticate any transaction on the card.

GhIPSS has been rolling out a number of point of sales terminals (POS) in excess of 200 in Accra alone and these terminals accept both e-zwich and normal ATM cards.

Mr. Hesse believed that if all public sector workers get paid on the card, they would find it convenient to use it at the POS.

He explained further that the moment shop owners and other service providers get to know that this huge number of people will have active e-zwich cards, they would secure and make the POSes available in addition to introducing all kinds of schemes to attract customers.

In advanced countries, the use of cards to shop is the norm and it has so caught on well that card issuers constantly come out with various discount schemes to encourage people to shop with them.

Mr. Hesse believed such developments would be replicated in Ghana the moment public sector workers get paid on their cards.

Mr. Hesse was of the view that the decision of the President will have the dual benefits of checking payroll associated fraud and promote a cash-lite economy.

He said GhIPSS would work closely with stakeholders to ensure that the President’s objective was realised.

By David Adadevoh

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