The central bank is considering offloading parts of its shares in the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) to commercial banks in the country, in order to drive adoption of the institution’s industry guidelines.
GhIPSS’s Chief Executive Officer Archie Hesse said the move, which will be effected in the course of the year, is line with best practice in parts of the world.
Speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of the launch of the Ghana Banking Awards last week, Mr. Hesse said: “As at now it [GhIPSS] is 100 percent owned by the central bank. So we believe that even if the banks take 80 percent, that will support the adoption of our guidelines…and it is consistent with good practice where in most countries the interbank payment system is owned by the banks”.
The initiative by GhIPSS comes after similar recommendations were made in a central bank comprehensive roadmap document to enhance payment systems in the country.
One of the goals of the Strategic Payments Roadmap for Ghana is meant to build on the current payment systems infrastructure to reduce the dependence on cash for transactions.
But Mr. Hesse said GhIPSS is not oblivious of the challenges that will come with the planned change in the ownership structure when completed.
“There are some difficulties when the system is 100 percent owned by the banks, where they might lower the price etc.; and in every situation you have the advantages and disadvantages. But as managers of the system, it is up to you to take these things on board and come up with the appropriate measures for the environment to achieve what it was meant for,” he said.
Support for banking awards
As part of its efforts to promote the use of its payment systems, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) announced that it will support two categories at the Ghana Banking Awards to reward the most active bank on the e-zwich platform as well as the bank that promotes cashless banking.
The best cashless bank award will be given to the bank that promotes payments with cards on point of sale devices, Internet banking and cheques among other electronic payment products.
Speaking at the launch of the awards, which is on the theme “Identifying and Rewarding Excellence in the Banking Services Proposition”, Mr. Hesse said GhIPSS is committed to and believes in providing convenience for bank customers.
“That is why we are happy to be associated with the awards scheme. We are particularly enthused about the Most Active e-zwich Bank Category that was introduced last year. The number of persons enrolled on the e-zwich keeps increasing with the collaboration between GhIPSS and various institutions, including some government agencies. It is therefore in the interest of banks to take advantage of these opportunities in getting the many unbanked Ghanaians onto the platform,” he said.