BoG to develop Digital Agent Registry

Dr Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana

The Governor of Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Ernest Addison has hinted of the development a Digital Agent Registry to enhance the identification and oversight of agents to further deepen activities in the digital financial space.

Speaking at the Euromoney Ghana/West African Conference dubbed: ‘Building A Digital Business and Financial Ecosystem’, in Accra on Tuesday, Dr. Addison said the project is in collaboration with the financial services industry and will interconnect with Ghana’s digital address system to provide unique identification for agents. It will also facilitate real-time monitoring and tracking of agents.

Dr. Addison further noted that the Registry will facilitate customers’ access to a preferred agent point by mapping agent locations as well as inform stakeholders if agents violate regulatory and prudential requirements.

Current services

Currently, the range of payment service providers has expanded to include mobile money operators and FinTechs. These agencies now work closely with the major financial institutions to develop innovative and affordable products for unbanked customers.

The various products and services on offer include online payment platforms, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services, mobile banking services, transfers of inward remittances into mobile wallets and agency banking.

Dr. Addison said the Bank is currently promoting the payment of interest on e-money float balances held by banks to further scale up mobile money service usage and promote financial inclusion.

He announced that the Bank in collaboration with stakeholders has also prepared Cyber Security Regulations for the financial sector which will be launched next month to address cyber security challenges in a digital financial landscape.

To keep pace with innovation, Dr. Addison assured that the BoG will continue to strengthen the oversight and regulatory regime to support developments in the payment and settlement systems, adding, “this would ensure safety, reliability, efficiency and confidence in digital financial transactions to support the growth agenda of the government.”

Mobile Money Interoperability

As part of the Bank’s policy to transform the financial ecosystem, the first phase of mobile money interoperability project was implemented in May 2018.

Under this project, different mobile money platforms were linked through the central switch to facilitate funds transfer across mobile money networks.

Payment Systems Regulatory Framework

The Bank has recently reviewed, amended, and consolidated the existing payment systems regulatory framework.

The new draft Payment Systems and Services Bill 2017, which has been approved by Cabinet, awaits consideration by Parliament. This unifies previous laws and guidelines relating to payment services and e-money operations and sets the norms and standards to regularise actors in the payment system space.

The new Bill is expected to open up Ghana’s digital finance space to promote financial inclusion and help reduce poverty.

The Bill has also been expanded to include provisions for cyber security regulations and strict adherence to ICT standards; payment service providers to the Data Protection Act 2012 (Act 843) would be required of all market players.

By Joshua W. Amlanu