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Only 40% Ghanaians Have Bank Accounts - Dr. Bawumia   
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Despite the fact that banking started in Ghana about a century ago, only about 40 per cent of Ghanaians have bank accounts, leaving majority of the population unbanked, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed.

“This unbanked population therefore use cash for transactions, excluding them from the formal financial system, i.e. access to savings, bank credit, mortgages, investment and other financial products,” Dr Bawumia stated yesterday during the 5th Economic Outlook and Business Strategy conference in Accra.

Whilst commending the Central Bank for the introduction of the E-money Issuer guidelines to govern the mobile money sector, the vice president added: “We must continue to urge the Central Bank to look at the regulations in this sector to try to better understand the space, so that the sector can grow and at the same time keep our financial system stable.”

The Vice President said the Akufo-Addo led presidency, which is pro-business, has the intention of building the most business friendly economy in Africa.

“We are, therefore, keen on developing the financial sector to deepen financial inclusion and bring more Ghanaians out of extreme poverty,” he stated.

This, he disclosed, informed the decision of President Nana Akufo-Addo to abolish the 17.5 per cent VAT on financial services, as announced by the Finance Minister in his budget statement to Parliament weeks ago.

Dr Bawumia explained that the abolition was meant to encourage the development of financial transactions and mobile money because research had proven that countries with strong financial systems also experience strong economic growth.

He also called on the subscribers to allow the sending of money from one network to the other as done in other African countries.

“This is a very important issue, and it is an issue that all stakeholders should turn their attention to. Ghana is really a blessed country, when you look at the financial inclusion architecture in this country – the banks are there, the mobile companies are there, the Central bank and the GhIPSS, the payment architecture with e-zwich, which tries to target the unbanked.

We have an architecture that quite frankly I don’t see in any other country in Africa. We have been blessed with a major architecture which has been developed separately. What we’re lacking is interoperability,” he said.

As a result of these, the vice president challenged GhIPSS to bring the banks and the telcos together to make their platforms interoperable, so that Ghanaians could transfer money between the telcos and the banks very easily.

“I want to challenge GhIPSS and the banks: Government would like to see us do this, this year, that we successfully have interoperability between our key players, the telcos, the banks and the payment system architecture in this country,” he stated.

Source: The New Statesman

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