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General News of Sunday, 20 May 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Government hid real cost of MoMo Interoperability

The Legislator for Bolgatanga has said government failed to indicate the real cost of the Mobile Money Interoperability System it recently launched.

Isaac Adongo claims government has built an additional ¢3 billion of cost to be paid by the service user which is more expensive for the users.

According to him, the Sibton System had a charge per volume to the users at ¢1.5 unlike the system in place now which attracts a ¢2.5 charge to use the service.

Mr Adongo told Samson Lardy Anyenini on new analysis programme Newsfile, Saturday, that an additional $4.5 million is to be paid to a Haitian company to monitor revenue assurance makes the deal a bad one.

Mr Adongo said government is not being straight with Ghanaians advising that the Akufo-Addo government should have done a complete project appraisal when it wanted to introduce a new system.

During the week, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia scoffed at a former deputy BoG Governor's defence of the ¢4.6bn contract - which he claimed was over 200 times higher than the next bidder.

The same contract to allow subscribers to send monies from their phones to all other mobile networks and banks and vice-versa has been done for barely ¢18 million. Government has in effect saved the taxpayer some ¢990 million.

Earlier, the former Deputy Governor at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Johnson Asiama, had defended the 2016 decision to award the ¢4.6bn contract to Sibton Switch Systems Limited deemed fishy and inflated.

He said, the interoperability service the BoG had wanted Sibton Switch to implement is far bigger in scope than what has been announced by government even though he admitted he did not know the exact scope of the current system.

Dr Johnson Asiama argued that comparing the cost of the project envisaged by the BoG in 2016 and the one launched last week is like comparing elephants and antelopes.

Throwing on light on the former Deputy Governor's stance, Mr Adongo said government failed to indicate some running cost including third party companies that will provide services in the new PaySwitch deal.

According to him, the annual renewal cost over the next 25 years has been omitted and the overhead cost would be more than the ¢18 million, government is bragging about.

The Bolga MP said the final figure also missed the capital and operational cost of running the system over the period.

“If you run the system by Sibton Switch, you will not be incurring $4.5 million, so if you multiply that by 25 years, of course, the figure will not be the same…that is why we do an appraisal of a project in order to determine net present value,” he said.

But Newsfile Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said government the new contract procured at a cost of ¢18 million saved the nation unnecessary cost.

He said the net present value in the Sibton deal was lower than what government will get from the current deal.

"It was a policy direction and we chose the national payment switch to handle it so the cost will be lower and we get to enjoy economies of scale," he said.