The Institute of Statistics, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER) has raised concerns that the recently proposed restrictions on mobile money (MoMo) transactions in Ghana could hinder the digitization of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and impede progress toward a cash-lite economy.
However, the institute emphasized the potential adverse effects on micro, small, and medium enterprises, particularly those in rural areas relying on MoMo for financial transactions.
The statement highlighted the impact on segments such as traders and farmers in agricultural value chains, especially those addressing security concerns with cashless transactions.
ISSER expressed concerns that increased costs might be transferred to consumers, potentially triggering both food and non-food inflation.
ISSER further cautioned about the consequences of the developing social media-driven e-commerce ecosystem, which heavily relies on MoMo for payments.
The institute anticipated that service providers on e-commerce platforms would pass on the revised charges to consumers through increased prices of goods and services.
In a joint statement, MoMo agents across Ghana announced a temporary measure limiting cash withdrawals to GHS 1,000 per transaction from December 1. ISSER warned that the potential impact of these restrictions might be significant, especially for neglected and last-mile populations.
According to ISSER, 76 percent of mobile money agents are within 30 minutes of consumers in rural areas, while it takes over 2 hours for more than 50 percent of rural dwellers to reach an ATM.
The statement emphasized that the limited accessibility to ATMs, banks, and microfinance institutions in rural areas would force MoMo users to either endure high transaction costs or resort to using cash.
ISSER urged a reconsideration of the MoMo restrictions, emphasizing the importance of preserving the gains made in digitization and moving toward a more inclusive and accessible financial ecosystem.