Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday launched the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre’s(MASLOC) Integrated ICT System to enhance transparency and accountability in the disbursement and recovery of loans.
The ICT platform is an innovative solution to address payment and settlement challenges as well as reach out to the wider unbanked population in the underserved communities.
It would also address glitches in loan applications, bureaucracy, low recovery rate and improve access to the target beneficiaries, including individuals, small-and-medium scale businesses and associations across the country.
All beneficiaries are required to have MASLOC cards, Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) and digital addresses for easy tracking.
Speaking at the launch of the ICT System at the Jubilee House, Vice President Bawumia said the IT solution was in tandem with President Akufo-Addo’s government vision of digitising government machinery and enhancing public service delivery.
He said this would propel the country’s agenda of building a digital economy and becoming the preferred business destination in Africa.
Dr Bawumia observed that the global COVID-19 pandemic had reaffirmed the President’s belief that building a digital economy is the way to go and would be the catalyst for development after the pandemic.
He explained that even before the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, the government had started implementing digital architecture to transform the economy and thus, mentioned the rolling out of the Mobile Money Payment Interoperability System, National Digital and Property Addressing System, QR Code, Instant Pay and Ghana Link as some of the platforms to digitise the economy.
“I believe the ICT System will breathe fresh air of efficiency into the operations of MASLOC in terms of processing loans, increase access to products and services and reduce human interface.
“This is a major transformation of MASLOC and would bring a huge element of transparency and accountability,” the Vice President emphasised.
Consequently, the Centre would not give out loans based on one’s political affiliation, but to all qualified Ghanaians, especially to 80 per cent of Ghanaian women.
Dr Bawumia was of the conviction that the IT solution would improve the confidence and give impetus to the Finance Minister to grant more liquidity for MASLOC’s operations.
Mr Stephen Amoah, the Chief Executive Officer of MASLOC, in his welcome address, said the Centre was established in 2006 to close the equity gap between SMEs and large businesses.
He believed that the ICT platform would enhance efficiency in the operations and administration of loan disbursement and recovery, as well as protect the public purse.
He said it would also be useful to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, NBSSI and other national financial institutions in disbursement of funds.
Mr Amoah said the Centre has disbursed more than 115 million Ghana cedis to 97,195 beneficiaries over the past three years, compared to about 75 million Ghana cedis disbursed between 2009 and 2016.
Mr Amoah said his outfit had created 570 new jobs and opened 200 offices in rural areas.
He said it had also established Internal Audit and Entity Tender Committee and Internal Audit Unit to enhance efficiency and transparency in its operations.
The Centre, he said, would share its data with other universal banks and financial institutions to enhance loan disbursement to rural folks across the country.
Currently, MASLOC has formed a partnership with ARB Apex Bank to improve service delivery.