Interoperability: Gov’t saved $1.1bn unjustified extortion-Minister

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Government has said that they have saved the country from “unjustified extortion” by the erstwhile Mahama administration by negotiating for a new interoperability system created by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS).

“The Akufo-Addo administration at this stage is pleased to have had the opportunity to engage all the stakeholders to correct what would have been an unjustified extortion from the good people of Ghana if the old deal had not being abrogated,” Deputy Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said on Tuesday 15 May 2018 at a press conference in Accra.

He said the previous government agreed with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) for “the company SIBTON to charge the users of the platform and who are the users of this platform predominantly? These are market women, farmers, drivers; people in the lower class are those who massively use these platforms that have been rolled out. Their arrangement was that the company SIBTON should charge these people $1.2 bn that is essentially what they did”.

He said with the intervention by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration under President Nana Akufo-Addo engaged relevant stakeholders to ensure that the system was implemented under a new cost-saving structure.

“Government through the Bank of Ghana through GhIPPS is paying $4.5m and the Ghanaian at the end…who normally use this platform does not need to pay a private company $1.2bn for their profit. This is a big savings to the people of Ghana”.

For him, “the arrangement [by the previous government] begs the question why GHIPPS was not even invited in the first place to do the job. Remember GHIPPS was set up to develop an interbank payment platform here in Ghana so if you are moving a step further to add interoperability platform it only makes sense that GHIPPS be requested or charged to do the job and that is what we have done currently. It will make some people ask if somebody was creating a convenient scheme for persons to benefit”.

He dispelled suggestions that the initial deal was the best adding that: “there is no EOCO report that claims that the SIBTON deal is the best deal”.

Source: Ghana/ClassFMonline.com

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