A study conducted by the government has revealed that the level of access to financial services and products among the adult population (15 years and above) formally served by banks and non-bank financial institutions, has jumped to 95 per cent influenced by mobile money.
This has surpassed the 85 per cent set by the government as part of the five-year National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy (NFIDS) for the period 2017-2023, meant to increase the availability of a broad range of affordable and quality services that meet the needs of all Ghanaians.
The strategy seeks to increase financial inclusion from 58 per cent of country’s adult population to 85 per cent by 2023.
The Demand Side Survey (DSS) commissioned by the Ministry of Finance in 2021 and funded by the World Bank, meant to measure the levels of financial inclusion among adult population indicated that mobile money “had become the game changer in deepening inclusion and reducing financial exclusion.”
The survey is to help collate information for the formulation of public and private sector interventions that will increase and deepen financial inclusion.
The Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Kumah, who launched the report said only 0.6 per cent of adults rely exclusively on banking services, a decrease of 15.2 per cent in 2020, adding that one per cent of adult population relied on informal mechanisms up from 15.3 per in 2010 due to the impact of mobile money.
He said the DSS was the second survey to be conducted since 2010.
Dr Kumah said financial inclusion was a priority to government since it was crucial for poverty reduction and development of the country.
He said the survey was conducted across the 16 regions of the country.
The deputy minister indicated that the survey would go a long way to inform policy on financial inclusion and urged the regulators and players in banking and non-banking financial institutions to develop regulations, products and services to promote financial inclusion.
“The DSS will serve as a benchmark for financial inclusion policies,” Dr Kumah stated and urged all stakeholders to use the data of the survey for informed decision making of their various organisations and development of the country.
Dr Kumah commended the World Bank for funding the survey.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, Patrick Nomo, in remarks made on his behalf, said DSS was commissioned in 2021 to measure progress made in financial inclusion landscape.
He said the DSS was to provide information on the demand, access, use and behaviour towards financial services by the adult population in Ghana.
“DSS will help policy makers and financial service providers to develop a more targeted response to bridge the gaps in access and usage of financial services,” Mr Nomo stated.
He said Ghana had made significant progress in her journey to achieve absolute financial inclusion.
Mr Nomo said Ghana in 2012 made commitment under the Maya Declaration, a global initiative that supported sustainable financial inclusion towards poverty reduction and financial stability.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE