The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has described as misleading media reports claiming that $8 billion has been withheld by newly licensed Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) and 11 Fintech companies in the last two years.

It noted that the country had rather seen a consistent increase in remittance inflows year-on-year, as confirmed by data from both BoG and the World Bank.

According to reports, approximately $12 billion in remittances to Ghana went untracked and unaccounted for by the Bank of Ghana and the Auditor General from 2018 to 2022.

It also indicated that data discrepancies exist between the World Bank and BoG regarding remittance inflows. The World Bank tracked a total of $21.1 billion in remittances to Ghana from 2018 to 2022, while the Auditor General’s reports on the Bank of Ghana’s consolidated statements of foreign exchange receipts and payments accounted for only $9.5 billion, leaving a gap of about $11.6 billion.

The reports added that the Bank of Ghana’s 2023 annual financial statement reveals that 11 licensed FinTech companies provided inward remittance services, with remittances totaling GHC57 billion (US$5 billion) in 2023, up from GHC18 billion (US$3 billion) in 2022.

In response, BoG in a statement issued by its Communciations Department insisted that the reports were untrue and not grounded on facts.

The Bank pointed out that it does not license MTOs since such companies are based abroad. However, it conducts due diligence on MTOs who partner local banks and/or FinTechs to deliver remittances into Ghana as part of the authorisation process.

“Furthermore, all remittance inflows are credited to the nostro account of partner banks of Payment Service Providers (PSPs), as such, no PSP holds any forex inflows from inward remittances. The partner bank credits the local cedi accounts of PSPs for onward transfer to beneficiaries,” it said.

Additionally, BoG dismissed claims that Ghana operates two foreign exchange systems, noting that banks and FinTechs who engage in inward remittance services do regularly submit prudential returns to the Bank of Ghana as part of their regulatory obligations.

“Banks and FinTechs have the responsibility of complying with the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723) and other legal and regulatory requirements. FinTechs’ involvement in remittance services in Ghana Pursuant to Section 4 (1) (e) of the Bank of Ghana Act 2002, (Act 612) as  amended, Section 2 (3) of the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723) and  Section 101(2) (i) of the Payment Systems and Services Act 2019(Act 987),” it said.

“The  Bank issued Updated Inward Remittance Guidelines in November 2023,  providing a framework for PSPs, otherwise known  as FinTechs, to partner with (MTOs) and local  banks for termination of inward remittance. These Guidelines complement  the role of banks in offering remittance services and provide alternative  channels, such as mobile money wallets for receipt of inward remittance by  Ghanaians,” it added.

“It is important to note that these authorisations for PSPs are  restricted to inward remittance services only, without any involvement in  outbound remittance services. The Inward Remittance Guidelines mandate FinTechs to work  with partner local banks. FinTechs have no authority whatsoever to hold  remittance proceeds outside of the banking system,” BoG continued.

BoG maintained: “The Guidelines for Inward Remittances for PSPs is consistent with the  Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723). All banks and PSPs are strictly  supervised to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the Guidelines and  Act 723.”