Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has warned that the inability of businesses to incorporate and embrace digitalisation in their business models will undoubtedly create a void with dire consequences for the survivability of businesses during a post-pandemic.
According to him, this can be deduced from the fact that in spite of the tremendous achievements towards building a financial inclusive society through digitisation and the COVID-19 containment measures put in place by government at the height of the pandemic, a digitisation gap still remains to be exploited by businesses for economic efficiency and growth.
Speaking at the 5th CEOs Summit on Tuesday in Accra on the theme, “Digital Transformation: Powering Business and Government Reset For A Post-Pandemic Economic Resilience – A Public-Private Sector Dialogue”, Dr. Opoku-Afari stated, “This transition will not be an easy one as there will be costs associated with changing business models.”
However, he noted, “This is where businesses will have to be resolute and remain steadfast in the pursuit of their ideals and take a long-term view of where they want to see their operations a decade from now. I am fully aware that some businesses are beginning to internalise this new normal and are taking adequate steps to adopt digital technology in their operations to ensure their relevance as well as grow their business traffic.”
As the surge in customer online transactions progressed, in large part due to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed on the economy which limited movements, he said businesses are beginning to witness strong and enduring habits that are gravitating more towards online customer-business interactions.
“A customer-centric business would of necessity have to restructure its operations to accommodate the increasing customer preference for online buying.
“To make it easier for businesses to receive and make online payments, some payment service providers licensed by the bank have been permitted to provide merchant acquiring and payment aggregation service for businesses. The solutions are designed and made available to businesses in a manner that does not impose high infrastructure cost and complex connectivity requirements. In furtherance of this, the Bank of Ghana has issued a three-tier merchant digital account with proportionate on-boarding requirements to guide financial service providers in meeting the peculiar needs of small and medium scale enterprises. This policy change is expected to facilitate acceptance of digital payments by small and medium size enterprises so as to provide convenience to their customers and also expand the geographical reach of their business,” he indicated.
He added, “I must state that the bank is aware of the importance of businesses, particularly SMEs, in the Ghanaian economy and is working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on a Business Sans Borders project to enable SMEs in Ghana leverage digital technology to improve on their businesses as well as give them access to explore global market opportunities.”