Government aims to improve the financial capability levels of Ghanaians, and subsequently improve Ghana’s financial inclusion levels from the current 58 percent to 85 percent by end 2024, Director, Financial Services Division (FSD), Ministry of Finance, Sampson Akligoh, has said.
According to him, this is an ambitious target, as such they will need the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to make this happen.
This was contained in a speech delivered on behalf of Mr. Akligoh at the maiden edition of the annual Microfinance Forum, organised by Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN) on the theme: ‘Microfinance Development in Ghana: Historical Perspective, Policy, Regulation, and Future of the Industry’, held in Accra.
Mr. Akligoh noted that government is implementing the Financial Sector Development Project (FSDP) which seeks to improve financial sector soundness and increase financial inclusion.
The project is premised on the notion that sustainable financial inclusion requires properly regulated financial service providers which do not put depositors and taxpayers at risk. The project supports institutions to expand financial services to underserved segments of the population, such as women, rural communities, lower income earners, and farmers.
The project also intends to bolster the financial capability of consumers of financial services to enable them to make informed financial decisions, as financial incapability was a major contributor to the recent financial sector crisis.
There is, therefore, the need to improve financial education among the populace as most financial consumers use financial products and services with little to no understanding of the risks associated with these products nor the benefits thereof. This makes them susceptible to financial scams and fraud such as the DKM and Menzgold crisis.
Mr. Akligoh further pleaded that this programme is sustained over the years to complement the work regulators have been doing in educating consumers on their rights and responsibilities in the sector.
“Like other developing countries, the Ministry of Finance developed a National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy (NFIDS) in the spirit of deepening the level of financial inclusion among the Ghanaian populace.
“Ultimately, the strategy seeks to increase financial inclusion from 58 percent of Ghana’s adult population to 75 percent by 2023, and address issues preventing the underserved population from accessing financial products and services to enable them generate income, build assets, manage financial risks, and become economically empowered. It is expected that MFIs play their significant roles in achieving this target of financial inclusion,” he said.
However, President of the Ghana FinTech and Payments Association, Martin Kwame Awagah, said the bold target by NFIDS is doubtful, considering the current electronic transfer levy (E-Levy) which has made mobile money transactions drop heavily since its inception. He, therefore, called on government to review the tax policy.
“It is our hope that they look at the E-levy and review it as it does not support their own goal of achieving financial inclusion by 2024. The current E-levy is not helping our industry, and it is not going to accelerate our drive toward the digital economy and provide the necessary detailed financial services in terms of promotion and the infrastructure,” he emphasised.