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Payment Systems and Services Bill, 2017 in the offing

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) is to introduce Payment Systems and Services Bill, 2017 as a result of reviewing the existing Electronic Money Issuers and Agents’ Guidelines (2015) and the Payment Systems Act 2003 (Act 662).

According to the central bank, the idea is to consolidate these two laws into one piece of legislation.

Dr. Johnson P. Asiama, the 2nd Deputy Governor of the BoG said they have consulted widely with stakeholders in drafting the bill, and the draft is currently with the Ministry of Finance, which it’s ready to be presented to the Cabinet.

Addressing a cross section of bankers in Accra, Dr. Asiama mentioned that the central bank initiated the review because of the response to the changing banking and payment landscape.

“Information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming the financial services industry with rapidity. ICT is challenging the traditional banking model by providing alternative channels for banking and payments,” he pointed.

The 2nd Deputy Governor said the improvement in regulatory environment has drawn interest of banks and non-bank institutions in the digital financial space. “We are seeing increasing collaboration between banks and non-bank institutions such as telcos and financial technology firms for financial service delivery, hence there is no doubt that technology is promoting innovative financial products and a more inclusive financial system in Ghana,” he stated.

He pointed out that they are also working with the banking industry to migrate all payment cards from magnetic stripe standard to Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chip and PIN standard this year to enhance security and reduce fraud in the industry.

He indicated that the use of electronic payments will reduce payroll fraud, improve government revenue collection efforts and enhance the monetary policy transmission mechanism.

“Notwithstanding the progress made in payments systems development over the last couple of years, there remains a lot more to be done. It is against this background that stakeholders of the payment systems are being brought together under the Payment Systems Council to guide the orderly development of the payment system,” he mentioned.

He urged financial institutions in the country to take precautionary measures to avert attacks on financial infrastructure by hackers because technology-driven payment products are prone to attacks by cyber criminals.


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