What Sayeth the NDC 2020 Peoples Manifesto?
8.7 FINANCIAL INCLUSION AND ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS (FINTECH)
A higher level of financial inclusion will not only benefit the poor, create jobs and reduce inequality but will also grow the formal financial sector.
Currently, Ghana’s percentage of financial inclusion is estimated at 58 per cent (as at end-2017) and expected to increase to 75 per cent by 2023.
The next NDC Government will
a. promote digital finance to drive financial inclusion, and financial development
b. Work with the various stakeholders in the financial and technology sectors to collaborate and design a resilient financial system through partnerships
c. introduce a uniform transaction fee policy to guide the electronic payments industry
d. work with merchants to encourage their clients to pay for goods and services electronically
e. migrate and enforce all Person-to-Government (P2G) payments into the electronic payment ecosystem, and this will start with migrating all major revenue-generating ventures of Government into e-Payment platforms such as was envisaged under the e-Ghana Project and will be applicable in all sectors – financial and non-financial
f. allow each institution to develop its own portal system where Government services by that institution will be conducted and payment made online. For a start, notable Government institutions such as the Passport Office, DVLA, Metropolitan Assemblies, Police Departments, Birth and Death Registry will be migrated
g. enact a strict policy on cash-based bank transactions in order to regularise the volume of cash transactions that can be made at banks’ branches and via the ATMs.
h. ensure a strong protection regime by building strong safety measures for victims of fraud in the IT ecosystem.
The above is what the National Democratic Congress (NDC) swore it will do, if it had formed government in 2021.
The whole idea is about digitalization, and the highlighted sections, a, c, d and f, demands more questions on the NDC about why it is bastardising the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and most especially Vice President Bawumia on digitalisation.
The digitalisation drive led by the Vice-President, started in Nana Addo’s first term, between 2017 and 2020. Just as the National Health Insurance Scheme started by the NPP/Kufuor’s administration won over many Ghanaians but was hotly contested by the NDC; digitalisation, was gladly introducing Ghana into a system whereby physical interactions during registrations, applications, renewals etc, etc. are cut down drastically, much to the delight of spending less time and money during these transactions. Ghanaians gladly welcome it.
But, just as the NDC promised us One-Term-Premium in the NHIS in 2009, after it rejected it during Kufuor’s reign; it decided to win the hearts of Ghanaians by smuggling what NPP and Dr. Bawumia were doing by way of digitalisation, into its 2020 Peoples Manifesto.
If as section a), indicates, that is, to promote digital finance to drive financial inclusion, and financial development, is not the digitalization Bawumia introduced then digitalization has no definition.
In section c), the NDC will, introduce a uniform transaction fee policy to guide the electronic payments industry, and this clearly means, the largest party in opposition, intended to introduce their version of E-Levy whereby electronic financial transactions will be taxed, should it form government.
Because the NDC badly attacked the E-Levy policy and called it anti-poor, it is cleverly running away from this by saying its intention is to call together the telco service providers and make them adopt a uniform transaction fee.
This explanation is “Own Goal.” Firstly, these telcos are private companies and have adopted ways of offering services in their line of business. Some charge fees for transactions while others do not. Notwithstanding, these telcos are all in good financial standings.
What business has government got in telling them what to charge and what not to? Is the NDC going to re-introduce Price-Control? And this comes to the second point. If the NDC intends to interfere with private businesses and determine what they should charge their customers, then why not it spread this wide and make sure that costs of goods and services are uniform. For example, the cost of a sack of yam in Bono should be the same in Greater Accra.
Section d), states that the NDC will work with merchants to encourage their clients to pay for goods and services electronically. Dr. Bawumia’s vision, is to have transactions done electronically, giving an example of buying of cooked food. Example, one can go and buy waakye using his or her GhanaCard to pay electronically. Today, the NDC are casting aspersions, on the second gentleman of the land, meanwhile this party will want to implement electronic payment for goods and services.
Section f), states that an NDC government will allow each institution to develop its own portal system where Government services by that institution will be conducted and payment made online. For a start, notable Government institutions such as the Passport Office, DVLA, Metropolitan Assemblies, Police Departments, Birth and Death Registry will be migrated. Today, Ghanaians apply for such services online, thanks to the Vice President’s initiative. Yet in recent times, one could hear the NDC condemning such electronic transactions.
The NDC’s FINTECH is a plagiarised work, taken from the original works of NPP’s Dr Bawumia. One wonders what will be contained in the NDC Peoples Manifesto 2024. Will E-Levy be given a different name and will price-control policy be implemented again?
Hon. Daniel Dugan
Editor’s note: Views expressed in this article do not represent that of The Chronicle