BoG urged to implement forensic audits amid remittance concerns

Non-Bank Financial Institutions

Banking consultant Dr. Richmond Akwasi Atuahene has called for increased scrutiny of fintech companies operating in Ghana’s remittance sector, amid concerns about discrepancies in reported figures and potential impacts on foreign exchange reserves.

In a recent statement, Dr. Atuahene recommended that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) commission international audit firms to conduct forensic audits on all fintech companies – retroactive to 2019.

He also suggested that the Ministry of Finance and BoG ensure fintech companies reimburse BoG’s Nostro-Accounts or authorised dealer commercial banks with all foreign exchange components accrued from international remittances.

Emphasising the potential economic benefits, Dr. Atuahene stated: “Foreign exchange from inward remittances can help reduce the current account deficit and stabilise the local currency against major trading currencies”.

His recommendations focus on enhancing BoG’s oversight capabilities through technological solutions.

“The Bank of Ghana must acquire software that can be linked with the fintech companies’ various digital apps to track, trace and capture all inward remittances,” he proposed, suggesting the implementation of a Middleware platform using APIs and Ethernet-APL technology.

These proposals come amid growing concerns about discrepancies between World Bank remittance data and figures provided by authorised dealer banks in Ghana. Dr. Atuahene noted: “The central bank has consistently failed to address the gap between World Bank data on inward remittances and that of the 23 authorised dealer banks for the period between 2019 to 2023”.

Referring to BoG’s 2023 Annual Report, he questioned the handling of significant remittance inflows: “The Governor reported that fintech companies received GH¢22billion (US$3billion) in 2022 and         GH¢57billion (US$5billion) in 2023. Where were these foreign exchanges held?”

While the BoG refuted claims of losing US$8billion through inward remittances, it acknowledged a decline – stating that newly licenced MTOs and fintech companies have withheld approximately                  US$8billion over two years.

Dr. Atuahene also called for improvements to the international remittance data framework, urging the BoG and IMF to enhance their BPM6 and RCG remittance data frameworks to better reflect the evolving remittance sector.

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