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Please I want to critically analyze E-levy as a technocrat and a businessman, my piece has nothing to do with Politics - as I have said many times here, I am not interested at all in politics and personally I am not impressed with both parties, I think in my view that they are more similar than different. So this is not an anti-government or pro-government write-up.

Here is my first scenario, so if Kofi transfers Ghc 2million Cedis to Yaw as payment of goods/services from his Bank A to Yaw’s account at Bank B. 

E-levy alone will attract Ghc 30,000. I mean Thirty Thousand Cedis as e-levy charges to Government for moving money digitally. Right? Ok.

Now, if Kofi decides to write a Cheque of Ghc2million to Yaw, and Yaw deposits that cheque in his account, automatically, Kofi saves himself Ghc30,000 charges. Because, to the best of my knowledge, Cheques are not included in e-levy charges, so it will just be normal clearing, except you want special clearing which is capped at about Ghc25 per transaction.

So what it means is that, most businesses who used to do bank transfers, will then begin to revert to Cheques and cash.

Another scenario, instead of Kofi paying Ghc30,000 charges on transferring the Ghc2million, he can use a Bullion Van Services (Bill Cash Services) to move that money and make a cash deposit into Yaw’s Bank, and the bullion bank service won’t cost him even a third of the elevy charges.

So basically, more people will now revert to requesting cheques and patronizing bullion vans for cash deposits. This means that, we will be printing more cheque books again and demand on cash in the banks till go up.

My question is, whilst the world is preserving trees, going paperless and going Green, why are we rather implementing policies that will out more demand on paper, printing of manual cheques books, more demands on cash, which might mean printing more notes? 

For example, a friend of mine just told me this afternoon that he doesn’t remember the last time he wrote a cheque, he always do bank transfers and Momo, but just today he has placed a request for a new cheque book with his Bank. And now he has gone to look for his ATM card where it has been lying redundant, back to Cash and Cheque books.

Another question is, why are we making digital channels now more expensive than paper and manual channels? Is this not counterproductive to our digitization drive?

How will FinTechs survive? Why should people use ExpressPay, SlydePay, etc? Because from my simple FinTech charges calculations:

Telco - 1%

E-levy - 1.5%

FinTech - 1%

Total - 3.5%

This means that if you send 1,000 Cedis with a FinTech app, averagely you would lose about 350 Cedis (tentative, this figure may vary abit), which is astronomically high and punitive. If John has to send 1,000 Cedis to Nana via an App and lose 350 Cedis in charges (Assuming he had already exceeded the first free 100cedis no e-levy charge quota), why won’t John call an Okada man to go to the Bank, withdraw the 1,000 Cedis and go deliver physical cash to Nana which might even cost not more than GhC100 to pay courier? 

This will also reduce the usefulness and viability of the interoperability which has been fantastic so far, because now people will rather abandon the whole bank to momo thing and just either use ATMs or enter banking halls to withdraw cash, especially when the calculations on E-levy charges makes useless the convenience advantage argument of using a digital channel.

Fellow Ghanaians, can you share your views too and let’s discuss? What are your answers to my scenarios and questions?

NB: Please do not insult the President and don’t make this an NPP-NDC discussion, let’s keep it decent, civil, intellectual and analytical.

BigGodwin Amartey 

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