The Bank of Ghana(BOG),in collaboration with the security agencies, is embarking on an exercise to apprehend and prosecute illegal money transfer operators in the country.
The exercise is aimed at promoting sanity in the banking industry, in order to enhance competition and growth.
The First Deputy Governor of BOG, Mr Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, announced this at the launch of the Western Union Money Transfer Service at the National Investment Bank in Accra yesterday.He said it had become imperative for the BOG to take this measure because at the end of December, 2003, foreign inward remittances through the banks stood at $2.08 billion, while that from the non-bank financial institutions stood at$0.88 billion.
He said this large accumulation of foreign exchange impacted positively on the exchange rate and this helped stabilise the macro economic situation, but would amount to nothing, if the Central Bank was lax in its supervisory and regulatory roles.The Deputy Governor said that the problems that had arisen with money transfer were the pre-determination of applicable cedi exchange rates to the various currencies by overseas agents, which adversely affects the rate of exchange in the country, illegal inward remittance operations and the proliferation of inward remittance payment offices and outlets.
He stressed the Central Bank's avowed commitment to monitor all operators to ensure that they followed the regulations of the banking industry.The Managing Director of the National Investment Bank (NIB), Mr D. C. Gyimah, said the decision to collaborate with Western Union to offer the Western Union Money Transfer service to its customers fell in line with the bank's objective of being among the top five in the country, within a period of five years.
He said figures in the national budget showed that private inward remittance through banks and financial institutions amounted to $1,910.3 million in 2003, a 57 per cent increase over that of year 2002.He pointed out that trends indicated that private remittance would continue to grow to over $100 billion worldwide, thus making the decision to partner Western Union a very ingenious way to mobilise funds and increase customer base.
The Managing Director of Ecobank, Mr Albert Essien, noted that the Western Union Money Transfer service would afford NIB the opportunity to augment the bank's foreign exchange inflows in order to adequately meet its customers' needs. He appealed to staff involved in the operation of the service to discharge their duties with zeal, to further promote the credibility of the service.
He called on all banks not to focus only on competition but also on collaboration to deliver effective services to their customers.