A majority of executives in the 23 commercial banks in the country are expressing some concerns about the proposed introduction of digital currency by the Bank of Ghana.

According to the survey put together by Accounting Firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 85% of bank executives would like to engage further with BoG in order to better understand the proposed digital currency and its associated infrastructural requirements.

They note that there is currently insufficient clarity around legislation/ regulations, technical and funding support that would be availed, and the role expected of banks in the currency’s deployment. This makes them uneasy about any potential demands that the central bank will place on them when it launches the e-Cedi.

80% of bank executives participating in the survey admitted that they are unsure if their current technology infrastructure would support the deployment of the e-Cedi.

They also maintained that the industry, in general, is fairly upbeat about being fully prepared within a period of two years once the design form of the digital currency and related infrastructural requirements are unveiled to them

Other operational areas that banks insist must engage, is the design attention of the central bank and its solutions partner are the basic requirements of cybersecurity and data protection, which are fundamental to building trust among the users of any financial product.

 Respondents expect that BoG will balance very carefully, the key requirement of security, against other objectives such as higher transaction speeds and lower transaction costs, aiming overall to achieve a balance that keeps security sacrosanct.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers on the survey

According to the Price Water House Coopers, they were curious to learn how ready the banking industry in Ghana is to “partner” BoG in the implementation of the e-Cedi project.

Consequently, we surveyed and interviewed senior executives of 20 of 23 banks currently in operation, and asked them to tell us about their awareness, knowledge, and readiness for the e-Cedi.

The responses that we received to our questions have helped us to form an interesting picture of excitement, expectation, apprehension and preparation/ preparedness.

It engaged top business executives in all the 23 Commercial Banks in the country. 

E-cedi and digital currency to be introduced by Bank of Ghana

The Bank of Ghana is working to roll out the currency on a pilot basis before the end of this month.

The digital currency will be divided into three phases: design, implementation and pilot. In the design phase, all framework parameters for the CBDC pilot will be specified and defined. These include economic, regulatory and technical requirements of the country as well as the definition of the parameters for the test phase.

In accordance with these individual requirements, G+D's CBDC solution would be adapted for the Ghanaian context in the second phase. In the pilot phase, a user group of diverse demographic and socio-economic backgrounds will test the solution in the field using different channels and form factors such as mobile apps and smart cards.

Excitement and expectations about the E-cedi by some banking executives

Despite these concerns, the Banking Executives were excited about the whole concerns about the introduction of the E-Cedi. 

 70% of bank executives interviewed are convinced that the use of this form of currency will be prominent within three to five years.

 Such bank executives, however, stress that user experience will be at the core of product acceptance among the public, and drive demand, use, and penetration. The meteoric rise and penetration of mobile money should have lessons for the central bank in its e-Cedi project journey.

A good number of bank executives noted that they expect the introduction of the e-Cedi to facilitate low transaction costs, improved security of payments, and higher monetary transaction limits.

85% of executives participating in the survey emphasized that BoG must ensure that the principles of confidentiality, data privacy and security are incorporated in the design of the e-Cedi to help build trust and thereby, encourage uptake of the digital currency when it is launched.

60% of bank executives are of the view that the role that the central bank plays in the e-Cedi project will determine – in a significant way – the success or otherwise of the e-Cedi.

Impact on Taxation

The conversations on the adoption of a digital currency have been dominated by views around it as being an efficient means of payment. In addition to such a view, we believe that having a digital currency will not only improve the payment of taxes but will also expand the tax net—the number of persons who disclose and pay tax.

A digital currency will mean that the average taxpayer can make payments swiftly without having to walk into a bank to lodge a cheque or pay in cash and wait to obtain a receipt. We expect that once a payment is made, a receipt will be generated immediately for the taxpayer.

However, an efficient payment system is not enough to improve (reduce) the time involved in settling taxes. The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) needs to make it equally efficient to lodge tax returns.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.