The Ghana Chamber of Telecoms says it is holding emergency discussions with relevant stakeholders, to possibly reduce mobile money charges across all networks, to improve the usage of such platforms for transactions as against the use of cash.
This follows concerns that the continuous use of cash by the general public could aid in spreading the deadly Coronavirus, hence the need to do more cashless transactions.
Currently, seven persons in Ghana have tested positive for COVID-19. The contagious disease has killed over 7,000 people out of nearly 180,000 cases globally.
As part of measures to halt a possible spread of the Coronavirus in the country, the government has introduced new travel measures, and has also placed a ban for the next four weeks on all public gatherings.
But for stakeholders like the Ghana Chamber of Technology, a shift to digital and e-commerce platforms like payment apps, and mobile financial solutions in accessing general services as well as funds, is critical to support government’s call for social distancing to prevent a possible spread of the Coronavirus through physical cash transactions.
But others have pointed to high transaction charges for services such as mobile money as a barrier to getting more people to go cashless.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecoms, Kenneth Ashigbey, said telcos are considering a reduction in their charges to facilitate the process.
“Using cashless and digital financial services will be really critical at this time. It is important that we find ways in which to get our customers to access these services easily. So as a Chamber we have been having discussions with our members and would be engaging the Bank of Ghana in this respect. We will be considering a reduction in our charges, to help people use our services a lot more.”
“Another key thing that we will be looking at are the charges associated with mobile money interoperability, and we will be holding discussions with the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) on that in the coming days ” he added.
Currently, users of MTN Mobile Money pay 50 pesewas if they transfer funds from GHC 1 to GHC 50. From about GHC 50 to GHC 1,000 they have to pay 1 % of the amount. If the amount exceeds GHC 1,000 then they have to pay a flat rate of GHC 10.
Mr. Ashigbey added that they will also discuss soon a possible review of the amount of money subscribers can transfer from their wallets with the Bank of Ghana, to ensure people are able to access and transfer more funds in these trying times.
“We would also need to look at the daily and monthly transaction limits that currently exists as we engage the regulator. Once we get an alignment with our members, we will then reach out to the relevant regulators to move the discussion forward.”