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16.05.2007 Business & Finance

GCB, Ghacem To Operate Cashless Transactions

The elimination of cheques, cash and human interface in business transactions is gaining grounds in the country's financial system with more banks making frantic efforts to migrate into cashless regimes.

The Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) is one of such banks that is making use of its reputation as the widest spread and networked bank. The bank signed an agreement yesterday with Ghacem Limited, for the direct payment of customs duties to the state.

Under the agreement, Ghacem, a major corporate client of GCB, will use the bank's platform through the Ghana Community Network (GCNet) to pay between ¢10 to ¢16 billion a week or ¢225 billion a year to the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS).

Ghacem imports klinker and other inputs for the manufacture of cement in the country and issues multiple cheques in a day for such transactions.

GCB, on the other hand, is a shareholder of GCNet and is one of the bank's that receives customs duties on behalf of CEPS on the GCNet platform.

According to officials of the bank and the cement producer, the direct payment would enhance security and transparency as it would do away with the human interface.

Both companies, including CEPs, stand to benefit immensely from the deal.

“Ghacem is not in doubt about the benefits that will accrue to both organisations — benefits such as service quality, speed of payment, certainty of payment, prevention of fraud, cash flow are but a few,” the Finance Director of Ghacem, Mr Ignatius Asare, said at the signing ceremony in Tema.

The Managing Director of Ghacem, Mr Morten Gade, said the agreement marked the consolidation of a stronger relationship with the bank, the relationship which went back to a decade and a half.

“This renewed approach came with better service quality and improved professionalism from GCB,” Mr Gade said.

He said the company had started taking letters of credit from the bank and had also used its services for distributor financing, cash handling and now, the GCNet payment agreement.

The Managing Director of GCB, Mr Lawrence N. Adu-Mante, was impressed with efforts by both companies to strengthen ties, adding that with the widest network across the country, Ghacem distributors could now effect payment to the company directly from any part of the country.

Mr Adu-Mante said the bank had completely improved on its operations, and added that the bank was playing a major role in the economy.

The General Manager of the Corporate Banking Division, Lord Baddoo, said the bank had a total of 369 corporate accounts of companies with not less than ¢15 billion capital each.

He said GCB's was the largest retail banker as well as corporate banker and was capable of shouldering huge businesses and risks.

Story by Samuel Doe Ablordeppey