The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched an Integrated ICT System to enhance the operations of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC).
Among others, the system will support the operations of MASLOC by processing loan disbursement digitally, increase access to their products and services, reduce the human interface in their operations and increase efficiency through enhanced performance.
Performing the launch in Accra on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 Vice President Bawumia expressed delight that such a crucial aspect of the Ghanaian SME sector had embraced modern technology and the use of ICT in service delivery, as it would place MASLOC in a position to respond appropriately to the changing world order arising from the effects of Covid 19.
“The implementation of what we can call the ‘MASLOC Card’ could not have come at a better time. It will make public sector service delivery and the administration of credit schemes simpler and effective.
“Ghana, before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, had taken a decision to aggressively pursue digitization. The President has had a clear position on this matter of digitization and development. But the global pandemic has reaffirmed the position of the President that building a digital economy is the way to go.
“Yes, the COVID-19 has been destructive in many ways of our lives. But destructive events can catalyze change for the better. We are witnessing the awakening of a new world order. Business will not be as usual after the crisis. An obvious change after the crisis will be an increased confidence in technology. Online payment systems will be radicalized and institutions will have no option but to subscribe to digital service delivery.”
Emphasising the critical role MASLOC plays in the credit market, Dr Bawumia noted that people who would otherwise not have had access to credit in the formal credit sector are assessed and assisted by the scheme, helping family businesses and budding entrepreneurs to get the start up.
Government, he pledged, will continue to improve the resource allocation to MASLOC to ensure that it reaches out to the unbanked majority, especially women and the youth across the country.
“Particularly significant is the fact that roughly 80% of MASLOC loans are disbursed to female applicants”.
The Vice President called on all MDAs to embrace technology in the delivery of goods and service to the general public, stressing that it is a “tested approach to increasing productivity of Ghana.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Stephen Amoah, indicated that with the Integrated ICT System, MASLOC is poised to effectively deliver on its objective of providing funds to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), especially the unbanked customers who form a greater percentage of the informal sector of the economy.
He explained that applicants are expected to receive the results of their applications within 24 hours, with the card containing such vital information as the applicant’s Tax Identification Number, Ghana Post GPS address, and also useable on ATM machines.
The launch ceremony was attended by among others Finance Minister Hon Ken Ofori Atta, who pledged liquidity support for MASLOC operations; the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare; Deputy MASLOC CEOs Abibata Shani Mahama and Maame Afua Akoto, officials of the Bank of Ghana, ARB Apex Bank and Eban Capital, lead providers of the ICT system.
Story by: Suame
Bawumia to launch one-stop online portal for payment transactions
Government is expected to launch a transformational, one-stop online portal; Ghana.Gov to support digital transactions.
According to a tweet sent out by the Ministry of Information on June 6, 2020, the Ghana.Gov portal will serve as a National Digital Payment Platform to enhance government’s digitisation agenda.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is scheduled to formally launch the platform at a ceremony in Accra on Monday June 8 2020.
Commenting in a video post ahead of the launch, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the “platform comes as additional layer to what the Akufo-Addo led administration has been doing to digitise the economy.”
“The Ghana.Gov will provide a single point of access to all services of Ministries, departments and agencies of government and it will ensure that anybody who needs to make single payments can that do through the portal without having to interface with several people,” he added.
Explaining the benefits of the platform, the Information Minister said it will improve government’s revenue collection, help save more on its expenditure as well as aid government in the fight against corruption.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah added that the Vice President will use the occasion to reiterate government’s other efforts in the digitisation space.
Vice President @MBawumia to launch National Digital Payment Platform to enhance government digitization agenda.
— Ministry of Information (@moigovgh) June 6, 2020
Vice President, Dr. Bawumia, earlier in January this year announced the introduction of the one-stop portal; Ghana.Gov in line with government’s digitisation and economic transformation agenda.
He explained that the Ghana.Gov online portal will synchronize all business transactions with all government agencies and enterprises. It will also enable members of the public to transact business with any government agency through the Ghana.Gov platform, according to the Vice President.
UNIPASS hitches cannot make President Akufo-Addo unpopular – Freight Forwarders President
President of the Chamber of Freight forwarders and Trade (CTF), Dennis Amfo-Sefah, has stated that the current technical hitches the implementation of UNIPASS is experiencing cannot be blamed on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He said just like any other new system, UNIPASS indeed experienced some teething challenges that it was surmounting and it was therefore not reasonable to blame it on the President.
Mr Amfo-Sefah, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday said “I can assure you that the claims that we are angry at the President are not true; among us Freight Forwarders, there is no unhappiness towards President Akufo-Addo because we know the truth.”
“The truth is that people who feel they are losing port management contracts are simply fighting back the smooth take-over of port administration by UNI-PASS; that is the simple truth. These people feel pained about losing the contract to manage the ports and so they have decided not to cooperate.” Mr. Amfo-sefah however failed to name those behind it, saying “The people I am referring to know themselves and at the appropriate time everybody will know the real truth.”
Some Media outlets since the implementation of the UNIPASS system reported that President Akufo-Addo was becoming unpopular among importers and freight forwarders because of glitches that were bedeviling the new UNI-PASS system.
They attributed the hitches to some senior members of government, who were allegedly responsible for the happenings at the ports for introducing CUPIA Korea and its UNI-PASS system and therefore allegedly orchestrated the abrogation of the contract of GC Net and West Blue to make way for the latter.
However, Dennis Amfo-Sefah pointed out that, “Nobody among us is angry with the President or any of his appointees because we know that the mess is not the making of any of them. The arrangement had been for the old operators to slowly back out so that UNI-PASS would slowly take over. This would have led to a seamless integration.
“However, the operators of the old system disengaged rather abruptly, leading to the challenges,” Mr. Amfo-Sefah said.
According to him, “the difficult switch from the old system to the new one was the problem not President Akufo-Addo or his Ministers.”
He was however hopeful that the problems would be fixed very soon. “This is the second time that the abrupt disengagement of the old port management system to make way for the new one is causing problems. In early May, a similar disengagement grounded operations at the port for days.”
UNI-PASS is a new port clearing system that processes documents and payments through one window. It is a departure from the previous system in which ‘valuation and classification’ and ‘risk management and payment’ were handled by different entities.
The single window system is aimed at coordinating all activities at the ports on one platform to reduce time and cost in clearing and exporting goods.
The system, spearheaded by Ghana Link Services Ltd, in collaboration with Customs UNIPASS International Agency (CUPIA) of the Korean Customs Service, the designer of the system, replaces the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAARS) and the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) jointly operated by the Customs Division, the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet) Ltd and West Blue Consulting.
Ghana doing well with anti-money laundering measures – FIC
The Head of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Kwaku Duah, has noted that Ghana is scaling up its fight against money laundering in the country.
He said Ghana is performing well per the reports of the Financial Action Task Force, (FATF).
Recently, the European Commission cited Ghana as one of four African countries listed by the European Union for money laundering breaches, a claim the Ministry of Finance dismissed.
The Ministry in a statement described the development as unfortunate because in their view, Ghana has instituted measures to fight money laundering
Mr Kwaku Dua, Head of the FIC said “It is the Financial Action Taskforce that would access Ghana. In fact, that is the world body that sets standards in the fight against money laundering and so the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, has been identified like it’s been explained in the statement that the Finance Ministry came out with.
“The Financial Action Task Force, (FATF), has identified some deficiencies in our Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime,” he said.
He added “…That is our money laundering regime and therefore they have drawn some action plans for us which we are following.
“They have given us up to December 2020 to address them. Then, the EU also comes out with this, meanwhile, per the standards Ghana is doing well.
“They access us periodically. We send reports to them and we do face to face meetings with them. So, per their report, Ghana is doing well, we have not faulted as far as the timelines given us is concerned so they are waiting till December.
“If by December we have not been able to address all the action items that is where they themselves will blacklist us,” he told Citi FM.
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