Records from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications indicate the monetary value of mobile money money transactions grew 865 per cent from an estimated GHC400 million to a whopping GHC35 billion in 2015.
The monetary value of mobile money is the total amount of money that floats on the four mobile money platforms in the country; MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money, Tigo Cash, and Vodafone Cash as per how customers use the service.
The various transactions on the mobile money platforms include money transfers, airtime purchase, and payments such as school fees, utility bills, for goods and services, foreign remittances, investment and for government stipends to persons in pro-poor programs among others.
Over the same five-year period, the volume of mobile money transactions grew 257 per cent from about 10million to a whopping 267 million, while MoMo subscriptions also grew by 420 per cent, from about 2.5 million to the current estimated 13 million mobile wallets between the four service providers, MTN, Airtel, Tigo and Vodafone.
In 2011, there were just about 6,000 mobile money merchants, but currently, between the four telcos that run mobile money service in this country, there are over 80,000 merchants serving Ghanaians across the country.
This is way more than all bank, savings and loans and other financial service companies branches put together.
Recently, wallet holders started earning quarterly interests on the daily balances on their mobile money wallets, a move expected to even boost the use of the service further and to promote financial inclusion.
Telecoms market leader, MTN, has for instance, made it possible, through a partnership with Ecobank, for wallet holders to make financial investments through the purchase of treasury bills using their their wallet.
Banking industry players have indeed admitted that mobile money will lead the national drive towards a cashless/cash-lite society and financial inclusion.
It was also within the last five years that MoMo regulations were changed to allow telcos to hold the MoMo license instead of banks holding it. As a result, all telcos have established separate mobile finance companies as required by regulation.
Telecoms Chamber CEO, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo believes, all that, plus the influx of affordable smartphones, interest payment on mobile wallet balances, and the other benefits mobile money, will eventually get Ghana to its cashlite society destination.
Meanwhile, the report from Telecoms Chamber indicate that, beyond the exponential growth in mobile money over the last five years of the Chamber’s life, the sector also made tremendous contribution in terms of taxes and other payments to the state.
The sector contributed as estimated GHC4.92 billion in total taxes to the state in the last five years, while making additional payments of about GHC595million in other remittances on international incoming traffic, among others.
The additional remittances include regulatory fees, spectrum fee, local authority levies, row fees to road agencies, BOPs, the outmoded National Fiscal Stabilization Levy, and surcharge .
Indeed, in 2015 alone, the sector paid GHC1.42 in total taxes, and some GHC168million in other remittances.
Over the same five-year period, industry players also invested some GHC3.82 billion in capital expenditure geared at improving quality of services.
Indeed, in the last five years, the National Communication Authority’s Quality of Service trends consistently show improvements in telecoms quality of service in the country, even though there is still room for more improvement.
Part of the big investments in the sector within the period was MTN Ghana’s purchase of a 4G LTE spectrum for $67.5 and plus an initial $18 million to deploy the services across six regional capitals in the country.
It is also worthy of note that in those five years the sector also saw very significant growth in both voice and data subscriptions.
Voice subscriptions grew by over 71per cent, from 21million in 2011, to the current over 36million, while data subscription grew by 125 per cent, from eight million to 18million over the period.
It is also worthy of note that the telecom ecosystem, particularly, those which constitute the Chamber, till date, provide some 6,200 direct jobs and about 1.6 million indirect jobs.
The NCA subscriber base trends indicate the sector is growing every month in spite of the fact that there are six players serving an estimated population of about 27million, out of which about 17million are estimated to be eligible phone users.