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Dr Bawumia announces date for launch of Universal QR Code for digital payment

By Mutala Yakubu
Dr Bawumia
Dr Bawumia
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Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has announced the date for the launch of a new payment system known as the ‘Universal QR Code’.

Dr Bawumia said this new system that will provide customers with an easy option for digital payment on business transactions will be launched on March 24, 2020.

He made this known at the opening of the maiden Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) Conference in Accra on Tuesday.

The Universal QR Code is the world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution and provides customers with an easy option for digital payment on business transactions, which reduces the technological challenges associated with operating cash-lite society.

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It will allow merchants to receive digital payments without the use of Point of Sale devices.

Countries that recently introduced the platform include Singapore, India and China.

Ghana will, therefore, become the first country in Africa to embrace that payment system.

The maiden Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) Conference is a two-day event that provides a platform for stakeholders within the financial, technology and development sectors in the country to deliberate, exhibit solutions and take stock of innovations within the digital financial ecosystem.

It is on the theme: "Leveraging Mobile Technology to Drive Financial Inclusion,” being organised by the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications and the Financial Inclusion Forum Africa, a policy think tank in the financial sector.

It attracted policy-makers, regulators, bankers, payment system providers, electronic money issuers, and development partners with the objective to advance the country’s financial inclusion and ultimately attain a cash-lite society.

With the 137 percent mobile phone penetration coupled with about 15 million mobile money wallets, representing 90 percent of the country’s adult population, Ghana was at the threshold of leapfrogging many other countries worldwide in financial inclusion, which would reduce poverty and enhance economic growth, the Vice President said.

He said government was committed to leveraging on technology to advance the country’s economic security and, thus, entreated the Ministry of Communications and other related agencies to strengthen cyber-security protocols in the quest to transforming and modernising the economy.

Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Telecoms Chamber, in his welcome address, said the introduction of the Financial Services Act, (Act 987), was inspiring the financial inclusion drive, which would make the nation a global leader in the digital financial revolution space.

He re-affirmed the Chamber’s determination to leveraging on technology to improve service delivery, especially to create awareness on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and dispel fake news and rumours on it.

Dr Ernest Addision, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, in an address read on his behalf, said the Central Bank had extended the deadline of meeting the minimum capital requirement for all payment service providers to December, this year, after consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Also, all lenders are to use 50 percent of their existing assets as part of the paid-up capital and lodge the remaining 50 percent at the Bank of Ghana.

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In addition, the governance framework and infrastructure requirements had been extended to December 2020, he said.

Dr Addison said the importance of financial inclusion for growth and development of any country cannot be overemphasised as it improved resource allocation and retained price stability.

It also ensured flexibility, competitiveness and accessibility as well as enhancing poverty alleviation efforts.