The Bank of Ghana earlier has today reduced the monetary policy rate by 150 basis points to 14.5 percent as the central bank bids to stimulate the economy and shield the impact of COVID19.
In addition to cutting the policy rate, the BoG in a move to promote the use of Digital money transfer platforms announced that mobile money charges on transfers up to GHS100 will now be free.
“All mobile money users can send up to GH₵100 for free (excluding cash out). This includes sending to a recipient on the same network, or another network via the interoperability platform,” a statement from the central bank said.
The BoG also disclosed that daily thresholds for various mobile money wallets have also been increased.
These will take effect on March 20, 2020.
The Central Bank also revealed that “the Primary Reserve Requirement has been reduced from 10 percent to 8 percent to provide more liquidity to banks to support critical sectors of the economy.”
The Bank of Ghana explained that the new measures were agreed in consultation with the mobile network operators.
“The Bank of Ghana has agreed with banks and mobile network operators on measures to facilitate more efficient payments and promote digital forms of payments for the next three months, subject to review, effective March 20, 2020.”
The statement from the Bank of Ghana added that the central bank is closely monitoring development with regards to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and won’t hesitate to “convene an emergency meeting to deliberate on other measures if required.”
Activate disaster recovery plans – BOG to Financial Institutions
The Central Bank also earlier asked all Banks, Savings and Loans Companies, Finance Houses, Microfinance Institutions, Rural and Community Banks and Foreign Exchange Bureaux, to activate their business continuity and disaster recovery plans proportionate to the current circumstance, and to review these plans as the situation changes.
All financial institutions operating in the country are to take adequate steps to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ghana has already recorded seven cases of the disease which has killed over 7,000 people out of nearly 180,000 cases globally.
All seven of Ghana’s cases have been described as imported since the individuals in question had travelled to either Europe or the USA over the past two weeks.
Ghanaian banks announce safety measures to combat COVID-19
Already, some banks in the country are deploying safety measures to check against the spread of the novel Coronavirus. Messages sent out to customers by the banks urged their clients to remain calm as they collaborate with relevant health authorities to ensure their safety.
With currency notes found to be one of the conduits for the spread of the COVID-19, Stanbic Bank in a message advised its customers to ensure they have less contact with banknotes while admonishing the use of digital channels.
According to Ecobank, “It is collaborating with key health agencies on COVID-19 to ensure your safety while you do business with us”.
The National Investment Bank (NIB) also told its clients like many other companies that it is taking the necessary steps to ensure their safety.