In response to the growing menace of mistrust and scams within the online commerce space, a new Mobile Money escrow service called Move Secure by Nsano has been launched to facilitate safe and secure transactions on Mobile Money.
The service operates by “holding money in trust till both vendor and buyer” confirm their satisfaction with a transaction, says Ms. Linda Otoo, Country Manager for Nsano.
According to her, this is a much-needed solution to “restore the declining levels of trust between online buyers and vendors” resulting from increased cases of scam.
For buyers, Move Secure ensures that even though you have initiated payment for a service, “you can get your money back seamlessly” in the event of an attempted scam or if the wrong/inferior order is delivered.
She adds, it also shows a commitment to your vendor to prioritize your order.
For vendors, the service shows a payment has been made before you make a delivery, eliminating the potential of wasting time or money to transport orders to customers who don’t show up.
Both parties can raise disputes within the Move App or via the USSD code (7188#) in an event where one party is dissatisfied with the exchange.
“We believe in using technology to solve everyday problems. With the increasing rate of mistrust in online payments and trade, we came up with this escrow service on Mobile Money to give both buyers and sellers comfort in the exchange process. This we believe will also eliminate fraud and scams in online commerce for our Move Secure users.” Ms. Linda Otoo, Country Manager for Nsano commented about the service.
Stop imposing unfair charges on customers – BoG to Banks
The Bank of Ghana has asked all Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) to stop imposing unauthorised fees and charges on customers.
A five-page statement issued by the Bank of Ghana said: “The Bank of Ghana has observed with concern, a trend where some Banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) impose certain fees and charges on customers. These practices are deemed to be unfair, inappropriate and detrimental to the financial inclusion agenda and the protection of customers’ interest.”
”Banks and SDIs are not permitted to retain insurance premiums collected from customers with the intention of implementing an internal insurance policy. This excludes commissions for Bancassurance arrangements,” it said.
Read the full statement below
NOTICE TO BANKS AND SPECIALISED DEPOSIT-TAKING INSTITUTIONS (SDIs)
NOTICE NO. BG/GOV/SEC/2021/12
ABOLITION OF UNFAIR FEES, CHARGES AND OTHER PRACTICES IN THE BANKING SECTOR
The Bank of Ghana has observed with concern, a trend where some Banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) impose certain fees and charges on customers. These practices are deemed to be unfair, inappropriate and detrimental to the financial inclusion agenda and the protection of customers’ interest. In line with the mandate of the Bank of Ghana to deal with unlawful or improper practices of banks and SDIs under Section 3 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) and to ensure that the interest of customers of banks and SDIs are adequately protected, the Bank of Ghana hereby notifies banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions of the abolition of the following practices:
Credit Insurance Premium Overcharges As part of credit underwriting policies, a number of banks and SDIs require borrowers to hold credit insurance against eventualities such as death, permanent disability and termination of employment. While the Bank of Ghana acknowledges the importance of this practice as a loss mitigating norm in credit management, a number of banks and SDIs take advantage, to overprice the premiums charged to customers, resulting in the increased cost of borrowing. Banks and SDIs are directed to desist from premium overcharges and to adhere strictly to the following: Banks and SDIs that opt to use their pre-determined insurance companies to underwrite borrowers’ loans, shall apply the same premium charged by the underwriting company to borrowers. Banks and SDIs are not permitted to retain insurance premiums collected from customers with the intention of implementing an internal insurance policy. This excludes commissions for Bancassurance arrangements. Maintenance Fees on Savings Account The application of “Account Maintenance Fees” by banks and SDIs on savings accounts inhibits deposit mobilisation and discourages the use of banking systems by the general public. Bank of Ghana has noted that the application of such fees has driven a number of savings accounts into debit and in so doing, eroded the deposits of vulnerable depositors who would generally expect their savings accounts to earn interest. This practice is detrimental to financial inclusion and negates the gains of the financial literacy programmes geared towards promoting personal savings. YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE.. We’ve decided not to increase our fares-Kaneshie…
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Banks and SDIs are directed to desist from charging “Account Maintenance Fees” on savings accounts. This ban however, does not include charges for services provided by banks and SDIs with the explicit prior subscription by customers.
Over the Counter (OTC) Withdrawal Charges Bank of Ghana notes that some banks and SDIs impose penal charges on customers who withdraw their own funds from banking halls of affected banks and SDIs. The reason commonly attributed to this practice is to encourage customers to use digital platforms provided by the banks/SDIs for such withdrawals, in order to decongest banking halls. These digital platforms are however not offered for free. While Bank of Ghana acknowledges the support of banks and SDIs in the digitization agenda, this action deters some customers, especially those who are averse to the use of digital platforms, from opening and operating accounts. The practice also negatively affects the financial inclusion drive of the Bank of Ghana. Banks and SDIs are directed to desist from levying penalties on customers who withdraw own funds below certain thresholds from the banking halls. In addition, banks and SDIs shall not levy penalties against customers who request account balances within banking halls.
Change of Ownership of Collateral Documents Bank of Ghana notes that some banks and SDIs require borrowers who secure credit facilities with movable assets, to transfer ownership of such assets into the joint names of the borrower and the bank or SDI involved. In addition, borrowers are made to bear the cost associated with the transfer prior to loan approval and after settlement of loan. This practice of some banks and SDIs is contrary to section 7 of the Borrowers and Lenders Act, 2020 (Act 1052) which does not permit a security interest to operate as a transfer of title from a borrower to a lender. The practice further denies borrowers the opportunity to secure multiple loans with a single collateral duly registered in the name of the respective borrowers. Banks and SDIs are barred from engaging in the practice of changing ownership of collaterals presented by borrowers to secure credit facilities from the borrower to the bank or SDI. Application of interest on Penal Charges The Bank of Ghana has observed a practice among some banks and SDIs, where penal interest rates levied against defaulting loan customers, are made to accrue interest. In effect, interest is computed on penal charges in addition to interest on the outstanding loan amount. This practice results in high outstanding loan balances which customers are unable to pay, resulting in high non-performing loans. The practice is detrimental to the credit market. Banks and SDIs are directed to desist from the application of interest on penal charges. Additionally, penal charges shall only be applied on the amount of the delayed interest or principal payment and not on the total outstanding loan amount in accordance with section 55(3) of the Borrowers and Lenders Act, 2020 (Act 1052).
Quotation of Monthly Interest Rates on Credit Facilities In accordance with section 55 (2) of the Borrowers and Lenders Act, 2020 (Act 1052), banks and SDIs shall impose on a borrower an interest rate that is calculated on an Annual Basis only in all credit agreements. Consequently, banks and SDIs are directed to desist from the quotation of monthly interest rates on all credit facilities and associated fees. In addition to the interest rate, banks and SDIs are directed to disclose the Annualized Percentage Rate (APR) related to every credit facility in accordance with the Disclosure and Product Transparency Rules for Credit Products and Services. Third Party Deposit/Withdrawal Violations Bank of Ghana has observed with concern, the lack of compliance with the requirement of banks and SDIs to obtain full personal details (name, address, ID and telephone numbers) of a person who makes a deposit into or withdrawal from an account on behalf of another person. Deposit slips of some banks and SDIs do not make provision for depositors’ signatures. This anomaly makes it possible for third parties to deposit into customer’s account under the guise that the
deposit was made by the customer, by simply writing “self” in the column for depositor’s name. Banks and SDIs are therefore directed to desist from this practice. Banks and SDIs shall ensure that depositors sign on deposit slips at all times.
(SGD) SANDRA THOMPSON (MS) THE SECRETARY
GRA to tax E-commerce businesses
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is in the process of developing mechanisms and modalities to tax e-commerce businesses by the end of the year.
The move, which formed part of measures to widen and increase the tax net, had become necessary because of the emerging e-commerce business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nana Egyirba Aggrey, Head of Taxpayer Services at Cape Coast made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a multi-stakeholder business integrity forum organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative in Cape Coast.
The forum would promote accountability, transparency and integrity in businesses, brought together 50 SMEs who were enlightened on Ghana’s tax regimes and the service charter of the Registrar Generals Department.
‘There is a project to tax e-commerce businesses before the end of the year and a unit at the head office is working on the modalities’, she said, adding that it was GRA’s expectation to generate more revenue when the tax was enforced.
She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, had brought a lot of e-commerce business opportunities which was generating a lot of profits that needed to be taxed.
Nana Egyirba Aggrey hinted that there was a five-year tax holiday for young entrepreneurs below 35 years who were into manufacturing, agro-processing and Information Technology.
The aim, she said was for them to grow their businesses and therefore encouraged eligible young entrepreneurs to apply for the tax incentive.
Mr Michael Okai, a Coordinator for GII explained that the forum sought to strengthen the integrity of doing business in Ghana by creating a quarterly platform for the private sector, selected public sector institutions and media to meet and discuss emerging challenges faced by the private sector in doing business in Ghana.
He underscored the need to provide the needed support for SMEs to thrive, saying SMEs were the engine of growth of the country contributing between 85 and 95 percent of private sector businesses.
Corruption, he said increased the cost of doing business and thereby reduced the profitability of SMEs, negatively affected business growth due to low profitability and ultimately affected national development.
He mentioned incident of corruption in the business setting to include; demand for facilitation or unapproved fees during business registration, unwarranted payments in order to circumvent customs, licenses, taxation, court cases and public procurement, bribery during the clearing of goods from the port among others.
To deal with corruption in SMEs, Mr Okai encouraged businesses to instill the culture of integrity in their workers, report corrupt officials to the appropriate authorities, reward or motivate outstanding workers and punish offenders.
Mrs Stella Ackwerh, Registrar General for Cape Coast and Takoradi who took participants through the changes in the new company’s Act, said the new changes were to ensure that the Registrar of companies became efficient in the performance of its duties of registering and supervising companies.
She advised businesses to duly inform and update the Registrar of Companies on the various changes that had transpired in their businesses within 28 days including; changes made to the beneficial ownership.
She encouraged them to file their annual returns with financial statement after the first eighteen months of incorporation.
Mineworkers Union calls for investigation into recent underground mining accident
The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union is calling for a tripartite investigation by government, Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Union, into recent underground mining accident.
Three of its members were trapped in the Anglo-Gold Ashanti’s mining site.
Two managed to escape but one person is still missing since Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
A press statement signed by Mr Abdul-Moomin Gbana, General Secretary of the Union, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, called for a safer working environment to address the increasing spate of fatalities and accidents in the country’s underground mining operations.
The statement said Ghana as a prominent hub of mining in Africa had not fared badly in regulating the formal subsector of its industry but in recent times, there had been a trend of mine accidents and incidents with consequential fatalities.
It said underground mining operations particularly AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine, and its surrogate Underground Mining Alliance, that had claimed three lives since June 2020, were becoming a blot on the enviable record chalked up by Ghana especially after the structural adjustment programme in the 80s.
“As a trade Union organization that has for 75 years sought the protection and welfare of workers in the industry, we take an uncompromising opposition to this worrying and preventable fatality that are shedding the blood of innocent workers in atonement for the profiteering motives of these multinational corporations,” it said.
The statement said the Union would not countenance any more of these avoidable deaths; it shall not hesitate to withdraw its services if urgent and robust steps were not taken to eliminate and prevent these accidents from becoming a recurrent feature of the workplace.
“The Union will also want to use this opportunity to renew its call and advocacy on the need for government to prioritize the ratification of ILO Convention 176 (Safety and Health in the Mines Convention) to further tighten and align the industry’s health and safety regulatory framework to globally acceptable standards.
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