Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB), John Awuah has described the Bank of Ghana’s directive to use the Ghana Card as the only identification card in undertaking financial transactions as a step in the right direction.
He said the development is crucial to the strengthening of the financial sector and will be crucial to banks’ loan recovery efforts, as it would help track persons who fail to pay back loans.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG), in a press release this week served notice to the general public directing that effective July 1, 2022, all Banks, Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs), non-Deposit-Taking Financial Institutions, payment service providers, dedicated electronic money issuers, forex bureaux as well as the credit reference bureaux, should not accept any form of identification for transaction purposes except the National Identification Card, popularly called Ghana Card, which is issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA).
This, the regulator said, will ensure that all financial transactions performed within the ecosystem are linked to one identity and information, and unique codes for the transactions shared with the BoG to facilitate the identification of initiators and beneficiaries for track and trace purposes.
“As banks, we see the directive as a step in the right direction. We are very much in support of the Ghana Card programme because of the enhanced features like people’s location, and this will help the banks in their loan recovery efforts, and to that extent, we are very much behind NIA and BoG. We are going to help make it a successful, effortless integration,” Mr. Awauh told the B&FT in an interview.
He added that the move will ensure the sanitisation of the banking system and result in the phasing out of the usage of multiple identification (ID) cards, as other means of identification such as the SSNIT card, passport, driver’s licence and voter’s ID are synchronised.
He noted that it will address crime-related challenges such as the cloning of ID cards as well.
Signaling the banking industry’s preparedness for the introduction of the measure, Mr. Awuah disclosed that even before the directive was issued, members of the industry had undertaken preparatory activities and comprehensive stakeholder engagements to fully equip themselves for the new development.
In view of that, he said, banks are at various stages of implementation and are confident of meeting the June 30, 2022 deadline.
He, therefore, pledged the association’s commitment to ensuring the successful execution of the directive. “Somewhere in the middle of last year, as a community of banks, we started the integration work with NIA and their partners. There are few banks that have actually completed the integration work, and procurement of devices has also started.
So, as we speak all the banks are at various stages of implementation of the Ghana Card as the single source of identification to banking transactions. The banks will be fully prepared by May 2022 and for that matter move to the next stage of updating records of customers. The community of banks welcome the initiative and are committed to assisting it to successful fruition,” he said.