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Opinions of Sunday, 19 June 2016


Mobile money transfer: To scrap or not to scrap?

There is no denying the fact that mobile money transfer is fast establishing itself as a very convenient way to send and receive money via mobile phone.

Its attraction lies in its informal nature and the ability to draw money even after working hours and also from very close vending sources.

Although users of the mobile money platform have complained about the charges that go with the service, they have hailed its effectiveness and convenience in delivering cash at short notice without stress.

There is currently an ongoing debate in Parliament for the regulation of the service, which is growing in leaps and bounds, with almost all the telecommunication operators in Ghana offering the service to patrons of their network.

Currently, there is a tango between the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) as to who must regulate the service.

The Daily Graphic believes that although the medium used is under the ambit of the NCA, any form of regulation must come from the BoG, as it is the central bank that regulates all financial activities in the country.

We, however, feel such regulation must not take away the attractiveness of the mobile money platform but rather make it more user-friendly and enticing enough for the telecom operators to continue to provide the service for their teeming patrons.

The Daily Graphic is concerned about calls to scrap the platform because it is believed that operators and agents are making so much money without recourse to the BoG or the financial fortunes of the country.

But we must err on the side of caution in that respect as, throughout the world, mobile money is noted as a growing phenomenon with the propensity to benefit a wide range of people, as well as the economies of countries.

Kenya, which is viewed as the pioneer of mobile money transfer with the introduction of its M-PESA in 2007, continues to lead the world in mobile money transfer, which has revolutionised the way Kenya does business.

Kenyans now use the M-PESA as a payment platform or their personal bank account through the KCB M-PESA account.

Since 2007, M-PESA has undergone explosive growth and, in 2013, a staggering 43 per cent of Kenya’s GDP flowed through the platform, with over 237 million person-to-person transactions.

Perhaps, instead of calling for the scrapping of mobile money transfer in Ghana, we could take a cue from the gains that have been made by M-PESA in the lives of Kenyans as a result of the range of services provided, including money deposit and withdrawal, remittance delivery, bill payment and micro-credit provision.

According to the Global Mobile Systems Association (GMSA), approximately 255 mobile money services were operating across 89 countries in 2014 and they were now accessible in more than 60 per cent of developing markets. The statistics show how mobile telephony has permeated the very core of human existence.

The Daily Graphic believes that the proliferation of mobile money services raises the need for banking and telecom regulators to work together to allow the mobile platforms to work.

We agree that as mobile money services continue to grow, more proactive policies are needed to ensure that the market continues to expand to serve local consumers.

The benefits of mobile money transfer outweigh its challenges, including the cutting down on corruption by reducing the need to operate in a cash-only economy, for which reason we stand to gain more from letting the platform thrive than scrapping it.