Government may not be in favour of the current moves underway to enhance interoperability in mobile money transactions across telecommunications networks, according to indications from the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
A telecommunications company, Sibton Switch Systems, won a controversial bid to oversee this interoperability at a cost of GHc 4.6 billion from the Bank of Ghana, the most expensive tender among the companies that bid for the project.
Initial reports about the deal indicated that the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), was well placed to handle an intermediary role in across-network mobile money transactions.Before telcos could fully roll-out a form of interoperability, the BoG announced that it had secured the services of the private firm that would handle the interoperability.
The telecom operators in the country subsequently expressed their displeasure wth moves by the central bank to impose a third-party company on them to act as the intermediary in mobile money transactions across different networks.
Veep charges GhIPSS
The Vice President, however, appears to be on the side of the GhIPSS as he has challenged it to take a leading role in driving discussions towards making the platforms of telcos and banks interoperable.
Speaking at the Ghana Economic Outlook and Business Strategy Conference on Tuesday, Dr. Bawumia threw some weight behind GhIPSS which he said was in a unique position “to bring the banks and telcos together to make their platforms interoperable so that you can transfer money between the telcos and the banks and so on very easily.”
He stressed that “interoperability cannot be forced” on the telcos without a prior consensus as he opined that, “there must be a sound case and people have to see the sense in it.”
Interoperability can be done in 6 months
The process itself is not rocket science, Dr. Bawumia said, as he indicated that government would like to see the realisation of the interoperability in mobile money transactions across telecom networks by the end of 2017.
“This is not rocket science; making sure there is interoperability between Ghana link, the E-Zwich platform and the mobile telephone platforms. If you put your minds to it, it can be done in six months.”
“I think it would be very nice if we all put our minds to it and I think you guys should be talking a bit more for us to get it done. I want to encourage banks and mobile network operators to collaborate to increase the range of services available to customers,” he said.