Three leading Ghanaian FinTech companies, Hubtel, ExpressPay and IT Consortium, have built Government’s maiden fully-integrated payments processing and settlements platform, Ghana.GOV to ensure efficiency in government services and revenue collection.
The online platform, commissioned by the Office of the Vice President in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and of Communication, is a major step in the pursuit of the government’s vision of digitizing the economy and modernizing the way Government pays its bills, collects fees and charges for the benefit of all citizens, residents and visitors.
Hubtel, ExpressPay and IT Consortium are all local financial technology (FinTech) companies with many years of experience in providing digital payments and settlements among many other services to financial institutions, corporate organization, retail merchants, telcos, media organizations, utility service providers, schools and many more with high efficiency.
They each run platforms that, for instance, enable Ghanaians to easily pay utility bills digitally, either with mobile money, other digital wallets, or with their bank account.
They therefore designed the Ghana.GOV platform to enable all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to also provide services to the public, take and make payments on a digital platform.
In effect, Ghana.GOV, which is yet to be launched, is intended to be a digital services and revenue collection platform for the public sector, created to provide a single point of access to Government of Ghana services.
The homepage of the Ghana.GOV site indicate the public can access services from state institutions categorized under Passport Office, Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Immigration Services, Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as Police, Justice and Safety.
Other categories are on the portal are Social Services and Welfares, Health and Food Services, Energy and Petroleum, as well as Driving and Transportation. So when a visitor clicks on any of the categories, they will be directed to the respective institutions for service.
The services the portal seeks to deliver include processing of all payments and transfers (both electronic and cash) against predefined service flows of each MDA and MMDA, as well as managing post-payment workflow, customer notification, feedback and service ratings.
This, according to information available to TechGH24, will enable the Government of Ghana fulfil its ultimate goal of creating a cash-lite economy.
Block the leakage
But a key rationale for creating the Ghana.GOV platform is to cure the inefficiencies in Government’s domestic revenue collection, particularly MMDA collections, which leads to huge revenue losses every year.
For instance, the 2017 Auditor-General’s Report indicates that, inefficiencies in revenue collection by the MMDAs alone resulted in losses of over GHS2 billion.
It is also estimated that about 10 -15 per cent of Government’s collections are lost through theft, fraud and other schemes.
Indeed, government observed that with about 254 MMDAs and some 127 public organizations operating more than 2,000 physical points of services and revenue collection through mostly manual processes, it is not surprising that revenue collection is facing such challenges.
It is therefore government’s considered view that modern technologies presents a simple, proven solution to address the identified inefficiencies, block the leakages and significantly grow revenues, and the three local fintechs have proven efficient in providing such solutions.
With the implementation of the Ghana.GOV platform, therefore, government expects to see a significant boost in revenue collection as a result of the impact of electronic payment on the systemic collection losses that are prevalent today.
Government estimates that digitizing collections via the Ghana.GOV platform will enable the it improve revenue by an some GHS3billion annually.
These expectations are rooted in scientific studies results, which have confirmed that providing simple to use electronic payments increases government collection by two times in some cases as people embrace the convenience that digital platforms offer.
Indeed, government also expects a a further positive boost in the revenue gains as the platform will help to expand the tax-net to include the informal sector tax payments, while offering the possibility for additional revenue from premium expedited services.
Ghana.GOV was originally scheduled for launch in June last year, but it has been postponed to later this year.