Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has urged banks to adopt the Direct Debit payment system for the payment and collection of cash. He said the country was making a steady stride in its quest to make the Ghanaian economy a cash-lite one; adding that Direct Debit products were very useful as they ensured quick transaction of businesses.
Dr Wampah was speaking at a stakeholders workshop organised by the Ghana Interbank and Payments Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) with the support from Stanbic Bank Ghana. The forum sought to enhance advocacy for the ACH Direct Debit network and keep market participants informed about the value of the product.
It was also to provide education on the payment product, develop resources, its use and clarify the benefits of the system. The Governor reiterated the commitment of the Bank of Ghana and pledged to support measures that would accelerate the pace of adoption of Direct Debit by the banks.
Dr Wampah expressed the hope that Direct Debit would grow to become the main instrument for the payment of utility, insurance and taxes, saying that was practiced in other countries. He encouraged stakeholders to embrace the instrument to enhance efficiency of the payment system.
Mr. Alhassan Andani, the Chief Executive, Stanbic Bank, said recurrent payments within the Ghanaian banking sector had evolved over the years from cash through cheques to standing order instructions, with their inherent challenges.
These challenges, he said, had led to the development of more efficient electronic means of payments and collections such as Direct Debits. "Globally, the solution remains a critical means of collections. While the advanced economies are raking in upwards of 11 billion dollars every year, the African story has not been rosy with just about 1.2 billion dollars in collections per annum," he said.
Mr. Andani said over the last four years, Ghana had been part of this evolving mode of collections. The growth of the service, he said, had however been hampered by the tradition of cheque usage, and low automation, among others.
He, therefore, urged participants to share ideas on best practices within the Ghanaian market and other jurisdictions to move the system forward. Mr. Kofi Amoah, Head of Strategic Programmes Department, GhIPSS, said Direct Debit could be used to drive credit rating and thus enable consumers' access cheaper loans and increased availability of disposable income.
He called for more education on the product to enhance its patronage.