Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Friday lauded the renewed confidence of foreign investors in the country's economy and attributed it to the democratic strides made over the years.
Speaking at the launch of eTranzact, an online payment platform, Vice President Mahama said it was encouraging that despite the world economic downturn, the country continued to see increasing interest from foreign investors willing to put a stake of their investments into the country.
eTranzact is an online real-time payment system that allows individuals and corporate account holders to pay for goods and services purchased from merchants. The idea is to cut down on the use of cash in every transaction and also mop up monies outside the banking sector.
This is expected to create an efficient electronic platform for banks to offer modern services and make transactions easier and faster.
eTranzact currently operates in Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.
He said investors were sensitive to the business and political environment and only willing to put their capital in areas they considered safe, secure and conducive.
“I believe that the current spate of interest of the investor community is the result of what we have been able to achieve collectively as a nation since the adoption of the 1992 Constitution - a safe, secure, politically stable, democratic nation in which the rule of law is faithfully upheld,” he said.
Vice President Mahama said the use of ICT products to simplify and speed up financial transactions had become a world-wide phenomenon but most people were still stuck to cash transactions.
He said the use of the electronic transaction platform would reduce the need for cash and enhances credit by the financial sector as well as cut down on the printing cost of money.
“eTranzact by investing in Ghana is introducing into our country a facility that in today's IT driven world has become very important for economic growth,” he said.
Vice President Mahama called for proper regulations to enable the companies conduct their operations in a fair and socially responsible manner to meet their goals.
He urged management of eTranzact to quickly extend activities to other parts of the country to enable a larger percentage of the people benefit from the efficiency of electronic transactions.
Dr Paul Acquah, Governor of Bank of Ghana said the Branchless Banking framework being developed with the e-zwich platform allowed for tapping technology to provide wide range of services and products to the public.
He said it also opened access to the unbanked segment of the population including those who cannot read or write, in the urban as well as rural areas.
However, Dr Acquah said to be successful, broad based participation by users and services providers was essential for the development of the branchless banking.
He said it was in this direction that Bank of Ghana guidelines required that all platforms such as eTranzact should be open and not have exclusive partnerships and that customers should be able to undertake transactions across all platforms.
Dr Acquah said a platform licensed for participation in the branchless banking model should meet international technical standards of being safe, reliable and robust, which were essential for stability and confidence.
He expressed the hope that eTranzact's initiative would help deepen the payment system infrastructure and deliver basic financial services.
Mr Valentine Obi, eTranzact Global Chief Executive Officer, said the company would provide secure, convenient and cost effective means to make and receive payments as well as reduce the huge amount of money outside the banking sector.