Citi Business News has gathered that the Bank of Ghana has given universal commercial banks up to December 31, 2016 to get hooked to the Ghana Instant Pay (GIP) platform or be hit with sanctions.
This comes after the central bank deferred the initial deadline which was 31st August 2016.
Speaking to Citi Business News at the sidelines of a stakeholder’s breakfast meeting by GHIPSS, its Chief Executive Officer, Archie Hesse said the GIP is expected to push the country’s cash-lite society agenda.
“Banks are not able to meet the deadline my understanding is that they have asked for an extension up to December. So it is our belief that by December this year at the very least, all banks will be able to receive instant pay transactions. To the customer on the street, all activities in all walks of life is moving very fast and it is a shame that I am able to place an order for my goods but I’m not able to pay or the payment takes time. In so doing, it might discourage commerce.”
He further stated that “for the individual, it gives him or her the opportunity to make payment immediately while for the merchants it gives them the opportunity to receive their payments quickly.”
Mr. Hesse was of the view that the process where customers pay on time and merchants receive their value in real time increases the speed at which businesses transact their businesses and that will ultimately increase productivity and have significant impact on the country’s GDP.
GIP which is a product of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GHIPSS) is to quicken the payments of third party through the banking system as well as allow account holders in banks to transfer funds to another bank or same bank in real time.
Meanwhile only nine banks are currently hooked onto the product.
They include; Zenith Bank, Capital Bank, UBA, Cal Bank, The Royal Bank and Energy Bank, Agricultural Development Bank, UMB and Standard Chartered Bank.
The transfer system has been possible largely because of the national electronic platform that interconnects all the banks in the country, which is the core function of GhIPSS set up by the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
Currently, transfers from one bank account to the other take not less than three hours even under express transactions through a system known as Direct Credit under the Automated Clearing House (ACH) and 24 hours if it is not under express transaction, which is also another initiative by GhIPSS.
Last year, GhIPSS met banks in the country to discuss potential inter-bank electronic payment services that could be developed.
The instant payment stood out as the preferred product by the bankers in that meeting.
Ghana has a huge unbanked population and many have argued that most people are keeping their monies outside the banking system because of the delays associated with banking.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana