The road towards digitisation of Ghana’s economy did not start today, it largely started under President J A Kufuor in 2007 with Dr Paul Acquah as governor of the Bank of Ghana who made his deputy Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to be in charge of the digital revolution.
I take pleasure in saying that Dr Bawumia’s role in the ‘digital coup’ under President Kufuor led to the introduction of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana which was incorporated in May 2007 with a mandate to implement and manage interoperable payment system infrastructure for banks and non-bank financial institutions in Ghana.
I am not stupefied when the New Patriotic Party returned to power in 2017, Dr Bawumia has been the champion of the digitisation of the economy. He has proven beyond all doubt that the confidence reposed in him by President Kufuor had not relinquished and his present track record has further deepened his good testament of championing a digi economy.
I desire to speak simply and directly on this particular point. Bawumia has leveraged technology to help reform and improve Ghana’s institutional and regulatory processes towards the creation of a digital economy to sustain economic growth and improving the wellbeing of Ghanaians. Traces of these feet can be seen at DVLA, Passport Office, GRA, Ports, NIA, NHIS, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Post, amongst other essential public service centres.
The data from GhIPSS indicates that value of transaction was only 3.8 million Ghana cedis in its first year of operations (2008) and the latest data from The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) at close of 2020 was 77 million transactions with a value of transactions processed in 2020 was GHS 254 billion.
According to the performance report, GhIPSS processed a total of 70.2 million transactions representing a growth of 142 percent compared to 2020 half year. Total value processed was GHs 158 billion, representing a growth of 40%
GhIPSS 2021 mid year report also shows that the public continues to prefer real time payments to other electronic payment channels. Total volume of real time transactions shot up by 254.6 percent from 16.3 million to 57.8 million, while total value of transactions jumped by 402.8% from GHs 3.8 billion in 2020 to GHs19.5 billion in 2021.
If the movers and shakers of the digital world have acknowledged the yeoman’s work spearheaded by Dr. Bawumia, who am I to stay aloof and not praise him for the splendid work he is doing?
I will end with a quotation from the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi Lamido here again the testimony affirms my observation of the digital works of Bawumia.
“Your Excellency Dr Bawumia, I have heard so many good things about your work in Ghana. Your digital work I am aware of because I happen to be on the global board of MTN and we have an operating office in Ghana so we get reports in Johannesburg on what is happening in different countries. So we do know what is happening in the digital space, Fintechs and so on within Ghana.
“I must say that I am jealous because the Bank of Ghana has gotten ahead of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Fintech and others. We all started with banking modules, but I think you quickly realised it was limited and you broke off. But I am happy the central bank of Nigeria is on now, the roles are being reversed and we are now copying from Ghana.
“I’m sure that [Ghana’s digitalisation drive] was largely due to your input and experience from central banking and regulation of digital payments.”
Regardless of Sanusi’s wail for Nigeria being light years behind Ghana in the digital agenda, however, it is to me a refreshing thing and I am proud of Ghana and thank God for giving Ghana Dr Bawumia at this epoch.
God bless our homeland Ghana.
Krobea Kwabena Asante