Calls to revise the Dedicated Electronic Money Issuers Guidelines (DEMI Guidelines and Agent Guidelines) have been dismissed as calls aimed at stifling opportunities for the growth and development of mobile money and the expansion of financial inclusion in many new markets.

According to Mr Eli Hini, General Manager, Mobile Money Limited, an enabling policy and regulatory framework was necessary for creating an open and level playing field that fostered competition, leveraged the value proposition of banks and non-bank providers, attracted investments and allowed providers to focus on refining operations and promoting customer adoption.

Mr Hini said the design and implementation of Mobile Money services required an enabling regulatory environment to promote innovation and ensure the right balance of controls to facilitate and maintain industry best practices.

On the other hand, he said, ineffective policies and cumbersome regulatory barriers hampered the full realization of the full potential of the mobile financial services addressable market and achievement of financial inclusion.

Mr Hini, who was addressing a stakeholders conference on Mobile Money in Accra, yesterday, therefore, stressed the need for the right partnerships and active collaboration from financial service providers that could help deepen banking and revolutionize payments in Ghana.

He also urged the Central Bank to adopt a centralized approach in mobilizing all payment and banking platforms in the drive towards a cashless society.

In an address, Mr Stephen Abban, Group Head, Personal Banking, Access Bank, underscored the value of mobile money as the commonest medium of transacting business.

Mr Abban said mobile money should be accepted by all players, adding that a cashless society required all adults to have mobile phones while all mobile phone users should have mobile money accounts.

He, therefore, called for the growth of the subscriber base, integration of the mobile money wallet onto Sim cards, while banks and other stakeholders should continue to offer mobile money as default product or services.

For her part, Ms Buddy Buruku, Country Manager, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), noted that mobile money had contributed tremendously to the fast pace at which financial inclusion was moving.

In a presentation, Ms Clarissa Kudowor, Bank Regulator/Supervisor, Payment and Settlement Systems, Bank of Ghana, noted that the rigidity associated with initial regulations on Mobile Money services had been removed.

Ms Kudowor allayed the fears of industry players on the impact of reviewing the regulations, adding that periodic reviews were essential for the smooth running of the industry.

Welcoming participants to the conference, Ms Ruth Badoo, Manager, Mobile Financial Services Operations, MTN, urged participants to contribute positively to the growth of mobile services in Ghana and make the country the next frontier in mobile money after Kenya.

Ms Badoo expressed the hope that the outcome of the conference would help ensure financial inclusion within a cashless environment and, thereby, contribute to the growth of Ghana’s economy.

The stakeholders conference, which was organized on the theme: ‘Let’s Go Cashless with Mobile Money, Supported by an Enabling Regulatory Environment’, formed part of activities marking this year’s Mobile Money Month Campaign.

The annual Mobile Money Month Campaign, launched in 2009, comprises a month-long series of activities organized in the month of August to promote and sensitize the public on the benefits of a cashless society.

Among activities lined up for this year’s campaign are a stakeholders conference; inter-tertiary institutions debate to be organized in partnership with the National Union of Ghana Students; consumer promotions; and a merchants/agents fora.

MTN Mobile Money is a fast, simple, convenient, secure and affordable way of transferring money, making payments and doing other transactions using a mobile phone.

The service is offered by MTN in partnership with over 10 partner banks, whereby one can use MTN Mobile Money to send and receive money, top-up MTN airtime, pay bills (DStv, ECG Postpaid, MTN Postpaid, School fees and more), buy and pay for insurance, pay employee salaries and pay for airline tickets and other goods, and services-without traveling far or waiting impatiently to receive or send money.

Currently, the Mobile Money service has more than 5 million subscribers and over 46,000 MTN merchants nationwide.

Source: Government of Ghana