Sam George is Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram

The Ranking Member on the Communications Committee of Parliament has challenged claims that government’s digitisation initiative has resulted in 15 million Ghanaians owning mobile money accounts.

Samuel Nartey George said one individual could have multiple mobile money accounts and so if the country had 15 million accounts it did not mean that 15 million Ghanaians had mobile money accounts.

“An individual can have two or three phones on two or three different networks, so counting persons with two or more mobile money accounts does not mean they are two different individuals,” he said.

The Ningo Prampram MP was reacting to a statement attributed to Vice President Mahamudu Bawumiah saying that government’s digitisation initiative had increased mobile money accounts to 15 million hence 15 million national are hooked onto the platform.

The mobile money concept was introduced in Ghana by MTN in 2009, Mr George said at a press briefing in Parliament House.

He said it was, therefore, not true that the introduction of the mobile money interoperability was the reason the country had 15 million accounts as that was not supported by any fact from the mobile money operators.

Mr George explained that the interoperability platform was a new addition to an already existing one and that it accounted to less than three per cent to the growth of the industry.

He said before the interoperability became operational one could send mobile money from an MTN customer to Vodafone customer through a token and the person would take the token to an MTN vendor to cash the money.

The legislator acknowledged that one could not send mobile money to Airtel Tigo or Vodafone cash wallet directly from an MTN but there was still the value chain of interoperability.

Mr George said even before the full operations of the interoperability there were third party applications such as Slide Pay and Express Pay doing transfers between mobile accounts.

“Also one could connect his mobile money account to a bank account and was possible to move money from the bank account to mobile money account,” he said.

Mr George cited the Fidelity Bank, for example, which allowed customers to use ATM to withdraw money from mobile money accounts.

He said it was, therefore, untrue the picture painted that “interoperability is the all in all and has contributed to what we see as the growth in the mobile money industry.”