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Bank of Ghana Plans Government Payments To Third Parties via SWIFT   
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The Bank of Ghana (BOG) has announced that it was finalising plans to enable the government to send all payments meant for third parties and other government agencies, via the SWIFT process to the BOG.

The Bank would proceed to effect these payments as the requests are received, Mr. Nicholas Okoe Sai, Advisor at the Central Bank, said, at the second SWIFT Business Forum for the West African Monetary Zone in Accra on Tuesday.

The forum, which is being held on the theme: “Building on Regional Integration to Deliver Excellence in Customer Service,” would discuss what has been done so far towards the West Africa Monetary Zone project and also explore the challenges and opportunities that regionalisation represents for financial institutions and corporates.

The Forum would also focus on how SWIFT’s new Sanctions Screening service could help banks to meet the growing regulatory requirements concerning sanctions, and a series of Chat Rooms that would give customers an opportunity to find out how SWIFT products and services could help business.

Mr. Sai said government’s payment through the SWIFT corporate’s platform, would eliminate paper work and inefficient manual procedures.

To further enhance the payment system, he said the BOG was also in the process of electronically linking the Ghana Interbank Payment system (GhIPSS) with the Central Securities Depository with the aim to achieve delivery versus payment through straight-through processing.

The integrated system would greatly improve funds liquidity in the financial system by making available to participants intra-day facilities backed by their security holdings.

There are also plans to integrate the Ghana National Switch to sub-regional switches while efforts are made to promote mobile banking as a payments mode of choice to deepen financial inclusion.

Mr. Sai asked the Central Banks in the West Africa sub-region to find innovative ways to reduce cost, especially in the case of low value transactions, and rather gain from increased volumes.

He said investment in the WAMZ integrated payment system would not yield the desired results if the unbanked were not brought into the financial system.

Mr. Alain Raes, Chief Executive, EMEA, SWIFT, said SWIFT was providing technical and logistical support to the six central banks in the WAMZ to enhance the payments delivery system.

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