Government Will Embrace Technology To Fight Corruption - Bawumia

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has observed that one of the greatest enemies of corruption is technology and said the government would embrace opportunities in the technological arena to improve the payment system and enhance the delivery of public services.

He said with the advancement of the Internet and mobile payments solutions, it would aid in tracking and collecting payments due to the government, which would make it more difficult for people to steal money from the public purse.

He said the country was gradually putting the requisite technological infrastructure to ensure efficient public services and fight corruption, noting that, Ghana’s mobile money interoperability (MMI) was unique on the African continent because a client could transfer and pull money across networks and also transfer money from one’s mobile money account to bank account and vice versa seamlessly.

He said since payment services were pivotal in day-to-day operations of a modern economy, any innovations that facilitate exchange and payment activities could make huge contributions to the overall performance of the economy by creating jobs and adding value to the nation’s outputs.

He said from last year, government had been pursuing aggressive financial inclusion and formalisation of the Ghanaian economy through digitisation programmes such as the paperless ports system, plans to roll out the national identification system this month, issuance of smart drivers’ licences, electronic certification of businesses and digital property addressing system, which would advance its developmental agenda.

Vice President Bawumia made the observations at the launch of the PaySwitch Company Limited, in Accra on Wednesday.

He explained that efficient payment system was the heartbeat of every economy; therefore, financial innovative technologies were making it possible to provide efficient, secured, low-cost and convenient financial services to a large segment of the population who were financially excluded.

These innovations, he said, were securing means of transactions and boosting the confidence in the payment system.

The PaySwitch is a wholly-Ghanaian owned payment processing company that provides switching and enables banks, savings and loans companies, and telecommunication firms to issue debit and pre-paid cards.

The Company is the only Ghanaian firm certified to do third-party processing for Visa and MasterCard cards in Ghana.

Vice President Bawumia acknowledged the contribution of Information and Telecommunication firms for their efforts in finding technological solutions to everyday life and improving the standard of living of the populace.

He said in the era of rapid technological advancement, it would be disastrous for the nation to resign itself to the outmoded method of running the economy since the payment system was the lifeblood of any economy and critical towards the efficient running of the economy.

He, therefore, lauded the Bank of Ghana for pioneering various reforms in the financial sector, including the interbank payment systems, E-switch, the GH Link, the Instant Pay and the recent launch of the mobile money interoperability system geared towards making financial inclusion effective and sustainable.

He said in many emerging economies around the world, technological innovations were increasing in the reach and depth of financial inclusion and Ghana could not afford to be left behind.

According to him, the country’s MMI system was more advanced than what was pertaining in other African countries like Tanzania and Kenya.

Reacting to the cost of the MMI system, Dr. Bawumia said initially, three bidders applied to provide that service with one firm quoting GH¢14 million, the second quoted five million, while the third firm mentioned GH¢4.6 billion.

He expressed surprise that the bidder with the highest quotation won the bid, and noted that, the government upon assumption of office reviewed the bids and managed to build the MMI system at 4.5 million dollars that saved the nation extra cost for the same scope of work.

Dr. Bawumia noted that, if the payment system is properly harnessed, it would transform the Ghanaian society towards a cash-lite economy and propel the economic growth of the nation.

He observed that considering the rapid technological advancement in the country’s financial sector, a time would come whereby the government would only accept electronic payments.

Mr. Nathan Annobi, the President in charge of Operation at the PaySwitch, in an interview with the GNA, said the Company offered services to financial institutions, insurance companies and retail outlets where people could make payments.

He said the firm’s operations had been integrated into all the four mobile money operators in the country to cause transactions across networks and offered comprehensive payment card products and solutions.

Source: GNA

Cash Payments To Cease As Gov't Encourages Electronic Transactions

Image result for dr. bawumia
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana
The Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has said the government will soon stop accepting cash payments and instead encourage people to make electronic payments.

“Once the infrastructure has been put in place, the government has to take full advantage of it and be able to receive payments from all sources of services electronically,” he said.

The Vice-President was speaking at the launch of Ghana’s first and only private third-party processing electronic payment company, PaySwitch Company Limited, in Accra on Wednesday.

The launch was to officially introduce the company’s brand and services to financial, insurance and e-commerce companies.

Extolling the virtues of electronic payments, Dr. Bawumia said electronic payments and transactions would also allow the government and financial institutions to track and collect all payments of money, making it more difficult for “people to steal the money”.

“If we are able to integrate our electronic payment system, which will not be too long in coming once we are assured of the stability of the system, we can use technology as one of the biggest enemies of corruption,” he stated.

“A properly harnessed effort in this area has the capacity to transform society significantly towards the achievement of a cashless economy and the role of electronic payment is essential for propelling our economic fortunes,” he added.

Financial inclusion

Dr. Bawumia said a 2016 Bank of Ghana Report revealed that the use of physical cash as the medium of exchange was on a continuous decline due to the increase in the use of other sources of payment, including cards, mobile money and the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Instant Pay.

“In fact, with the development that we are seeing in mobile money and electronic payment in Ghana and the infrastructure that has now been put in place, anybody with a mobile phone essentially has a bank account and can do mobile payment to a bank and pay taxes and import duties,” he said.

He gave an assurance that the government was determined to drive down the information technology highway, leveraging the opportunities it offered to improve the way Ghanaians worked in the offices and factories, lived their lives daily and taught their children to be citizens of the future.

The Vice-President said in many emerging economies, financial innovative technologies were making it possible to provide efficient, secure, low-cost and convenient services for a large segment of the population who were financially excluded.

Those innovations, he said, were securing the means of settling transactions and boosting confidence in the payment system.

“Since payment systems are at the heart of day-to-day operations of a modern economy, any innovation that facilitates the exchange and payment activities can only make an important contribution to the overall performance of the economy, creating jobs and adding value to the national output,” he said.

First in Africa

He indicated that since 2017, the government had embarked on an aggressive pursuit towards financial inclusion and formalization of the economy through digitization, such as the paperless ports, with a commitment to roll out the national identification system this month.

“We have started issuing smart drivers’ licenses, e-business registration and certification and a digital property address system and commencing the process to digitize all land records this year.

Dr. Bawumia said together with the Bank of Ghana, the GhIPSS and the telecommunication companies, the government last week launched the mobile money interoperability system, an initiative geared towards making the process of financial inclusion more effective and sustainable.

“We are allowing interoperability among the mobile companies and regardless of the network one uses, one could send and receive money to and from any operator,” he said, describing the initiative as the standard mobile interoperability seen in Kenya and Tanzania.

He, however, said the government had gone one step ahead of what was being done in Kenya and Tanzania by bringing in the banks to work with the telcos to allow Ghanaians to send money from their mobile phones to their bank accounts, and vice versa.

Describing Ghana as the first in Africa to accomplish such interoperability, he said in the next couple of months, the government and stakeholders would make the e-zwich system a key part of the mobile payment interoperability to complete the entire process.

“We are the leading African country in the area of mobile payment interoperability, overtaking Kenya and Tanzania, and thankfully we did it within a budget of $4.5 million, instead of $4.6 billion,” he said.

Dr. Bawumia said while the government was working hard with stakeholders to formalize the economy and ensure financial inclusion, the biggest challenge facing the nation was how to ensure that the economy created a system that allowed for the integration of payment of resources.

“By this, I am referring to how to ensure that mobile money does not become a channel of transferring money by an isolated channel and how payment cards can transact across multiple channels, regardless of which bank issued it, and how to ensure that retail outlets do not discriminate which sources of payment they will accept at any particular time,” he explained.

Drawing Ghanaians out of poverty

He reiterated the fact that the government was keen on developing the financial sector to help draw more Ghanaians out of extreme poverty.

In line with that, he said, the abolition of the 17.5 percent tax on financial services last year was aimed at encouraging the development of financial transactions and e-payment since research had proved that countries with strong financial systems also experienced strong economic growth.

Dr. Bawumia, therefore, challenged all industry players to take advantage of the government’s programmes and policies aimed at boosting economic prosperity for businesses and individuals by collaborating to dominate the key sectors of the national economy.

‘Reinvent or risk being disrupted’

Delivering a statement at the event, the Governor of the BoG, Dr. Ernest Addison, said the central bank expected banks to reinvent themselves or risk being disrupted by non-bank players in the financial sector.

He said as efforts were being made to improve regulatory and supervisory roles and the needed financial architecture, all stakeholders in the system must intensify their efforts to innovate products and services to support the cash-less and financial inclusiveness agenda.

For his part, the Chief Executive of PaySwitch Company, Mr. Kojo Choi, expressed the commitment of the company to offer world-class fast electronic payment platforms for various banking and e-commerce institutions to carry out their e-payment transactions.

He stated that as a fully-owned Ghanaian business that needed to be supported, the company was also ready to promote e-payment, which is essential to propel the economic fortunes of the country.

Source: Peacefmonline

Veep Donates 66-Seater Bus To Mfantsipim School

Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday, presented a 66-seater bus to Mfantsipim School to facilitate movements of both students and staff for sporting and other extra-curricular activities.

The Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan, who donated the bus on behalf of the Vice President said it was to redeem a pledge he made upon a request by the School’s authorities at its 141st Anniversary Speech and Prize Giving Day of the School.

He praised the School authorities for their long-term commitment and dedicated services towards maintaining the remarkable academic performance of the institution and expressed the hope that the bus would significantly ease its transportation challenges.

In addition, it would be difficult to achieve quality education, if teachers were neglected and thus it is necessary that everything should be done to ensure that teachers were adequately motivated.

Mr. Duncan pleaded with the school authority to ensure good maintenance culture of the bus to last.

As a former tutor of the school, Mr. Duncan identified myriad of infrastructural and logistical constraints as teething challenges militating smooth academic work and assured of Government's resolve to remedy the situation.

He appealed to corporate bodies, philanthropists and old students to continually assist in the logistical and infrastructural development of the school.

The Headmaster of the school, Manfred Barton-Odro, expressed appreciation to the Vice President for the kind gesture and said the vehicle would serve as s great purpose and described the donation as “timely” because the old school bus was obsolete and pledged to dutifully maintain it to serve its purpose.

Source: GNA

Anas' Number 12 Will Destroy Careers And Integrities - Baako

Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-chief of New Crusading Guide
The Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper Kweku Baako has indicated that the careers and integrities of some people will be in tatters after Anas’ investigative piece titled Number 12 is screened.

Speaking on Metro TV, Mr. Baako said the new investigative piece is expected to expose corrupt practices in Ghana football.

Mr. Baako said that he felt very sorry for those implicated but could not but would not protect them.

He said, “It’s a disaster, sometimes we are all human beings with some weaknesses here and there and I feel sorry for some because some are friends. If I had my way, perhaps, I would say ‘leave this alone,’ but Anas is a different breed of animal, and I have never ever in my life attempted to influence him. He brings it, I look at it, we can defend it, I say: ‘Proceed’. So, there are people whose careers or integrities may, perhaps, be in tatters.”

Meanwhile, Kwame Sefa Kayi has hinted that the impending Anas expose will let Ghanaians acknowledge the good work Patrick Osei Agyemang (a.k.a Countryman Songo) has been doing over the years.

A teaser of the investigation by Tiger Eye PI released on Tuesday, May 15, sparked conversations about what is to be expected when Anas Aremeyaw Anas finally spills.

The documentary will be shown for the first time at the Accra International Conference Centre on 6 June 2018.

Source: Pulse.com.gh

Karpowership Supports Tema Cleanup Exercise

Karpowership Clean-Up Exercise
Some members at the cleanup exercise
Karpowership Ghana Company Limited has embarked on a clean-up exercise with residents of the Tema New Town Community to keep the environment clean.

The activity organized by the Local Assembly together with Karpowership was to create awareness on waste management and the importance of maintaining a clean environment.

The exercise began from the Naval Base through the ceremonial road to the Tema New Town main station and then to the Tema Manhean Community Health Centre.

Speaking during the exercise, Corporate Communications Specialist of Karpowership, Ms. Sandra Amarquaye said Karpowership was committed to promoting good environmental practices.

“This is not the first time we have embarked on a clean-up exercise with the Community. As has always been our tradition, Karpowership continues to support the communities in which it operates in. We are hopeful that this exercise becomes a daily routine to ensure a clean, safe and a healthy environment for us all,” she said.

The company expects the exercise will be sustained and urge the youth to continue in their effort towards ensuring optimum sanitation practices in the community.

The senior health doctor at the Manhean Community Health Centre, Ama Darko expressed gratitude to Karpowership for its continuous support to the community.

“We are really grateful for coming out in your numbers to support this exercise. Since you began operations, the community health center has benefitted from the social responsibility projects you undertake. We hope the relationship we have built together will linger on,” She said.

The Assemblyman of Sea Light Electoral area, Mr. Joseph Ofori, also said the activity was important as the rainy season was yet to begin.

“The rains will start setting in soon and there is a need to ensure a clean environment,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to Karpowership for its commitment to the advancement of the community.

As part of Karpowership’s corporate social responsibility projects, the company did not only supports the clean-up exercises, but also provided a modern ICT lab for the Manhean Anglican School, water tanks to the fishmongers and the community schools, and provided bursary to over 100 students in the Manhean community, amongst other social intervention projects.

Source: GNA