BoG acted swiftly against policy gaps exposed by COVID-19 – 1st Deputy Governor

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First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the effectiveness and resilience of Ghana’s financial inclusion efforts.

But the BoG, he said, adopted measures to swiftly answer the policy gap exposed by the virus.

In general, he added, the strategies and therefore the specific COVID-19 interventions have proven to be effective.

He said thses during a speech during a ‘Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) Conference’ on Tuesday April 20.

“Notwithstanding, the crisis has exposed some gaps in policies and underscored the necessity to revise strategies to enhance their usefulness. In response, the Bank has implemented variety of policies to accelerate digital financial inclusion so as to scale back the impact of COVID-19 on individuals, businesses and governments. Among the measures implemented by the Bank are: Tiered Licence Categories

“The Bank in July 2020 published a Licence Application Pack under Notice Number BG/GOV/SEC/07 which provides for various licence categories for payment service providers.

With this licensing framework, the Bank aims to market an inclusive environment for competitive offering of innovative digital financial services targeting diverse customer groups within the Ghanaian society. this is often expected to spice up competition and promote financial inclusion through wide offering of digital financial services.

“Merchant Account Categorisation: a crucial policy intervention that has been made by the Bank to accelerate financial inclusion is that the publication of Merchant Account Categories. In spite of the 14% increase in active merchants, it had been observed that the wants for

onboarding merchants was steep, onerous and unfriendly to small and medium enterprises, which constitute about 90% of companies within the country. this example limits the feasible use cases of digital payment instruments for paying for goods and services. Also, businesses of merchants within the SME category suffered on account of their inability to satisfy the wants for establishing merchant accounts. As a consequence, a 3 tiered merchant account framework was published by the Bank for a more inclusive digital payment acceptance.

“GhQR: Further thereto , you’ll recall that the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) introduced the primary national QR Code payment solution on the continent amidst the pandemic, and shortly after the maiden MT4D conference. With a goal of simplifying merchant payment and reducing the utilization of money , this unified solution has been made available to banks and payment service providers in Ghana. With the introduction of the new merchant account categories, we glance forward to seeing merchants of all sizes, even small food vendors, accepting payments through

GhQR: Crowdfund Policy Ladies and Gentlemen, while new business models are being explored to market financial inclusion, the Bank is additionally facilitating modernization of indigenous financial services like “susu” with digital tools. it’s for this reason that the Bank issued the Crowdfunding Policy. The policy is predicted to encourage clubs, associations, market women and farmers to figure with entities approved and licensed by the Bank of Ghana to supply refined susu services for our people without the necessity for much physical contact and with strong controls to ensure safety of resources of participant.