Chief Executive Officer of FBN Bank Ghana, Victor Yaw Asante, has called on the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to extend its directive on using the Ghana Card as the only identification card in undertaking financial transactions from July 1 to December this year.
His call comes on the back of some concerns raised by a number of bank customers who have expressed worry over the Bank of Ghana’s directive, saying the challenges with accessing the card make the July deadline too close.
Mr. Asante said old forms of identification should still be considered till end of the year, adding that the timeframe will give Ghanaians more room to secure the required Ghana Card.
He added that an extension will not only help enhance financial inclusion but also help in the ongoing effort to strengthen and improve the financial sector – adding that there is a need to improve efforts to make financial products and services accessible and convenient to everyone; hence, all barriers that could exclude participation should be prevented.
“We seem to have enough of other IDs that we could use, because there is a passport and the voter’s ID as well as other cards. I just hope they don’t take it out but keep the other forms of identification for a while till everyone gets it. It is a good idea to use the Ghana Card eventually, but perhaps we need a bit more time to let it become a part of us.
“We still have a lot of the population unbanked – sometimes said to be as high as 50%, and we are trying to bring these people into the banking industry. So, anything that you add will become a more difficult problem; and so I believe a combination of all the available IDs should be good enough for a while. And then when we get to a place that we know we have achieved a very significant number of Ghana Card uptakes – north of 90 percent of the intended coverage – then we can come and say that it should be only the Ghana Card. I think we should be given the rest of the year to make sure everyone has it,” he said.
Mr. Asante disagreed with the assertion that an extension of the deadline will only lead to a disregard of the BoG’s Ghana Card directive, as banks may slow down in their efforts.
“I don’t think an extension will prevent people from accessing services hurriedly, because it is needed in all kinds of places and not just the bank. Remember, we have to link it to our Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) accounts; and a few other services are also requesting it, so it’s not just in banks.”
The BoG directive
A public notice released by BoG on January 19, 2022 instructed Banks, Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs), non-Deposit-Taking Financial Institutions, payment service providers, and dedicated electronic money issuers, forex bureaus, and credit reference bureaus not to accept any form of identification for transaction purposes except the Ghana Card issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA).
Customers of all the affected institutions are therefore advised to update their records with their respective financial institutions with their Ghana Cards.