The e-commerce window on the National Switch will become operational later this year, making it possible for Ghanaian businesses to export their wares and receive payment via the internet.
Mr Archie Hesse, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), who announced this, said the e-commerce window has been set up as part of the National Switch in efforts to reform the country?s payment system.
He said the e-commerce platform would be available to private sector businesses to enable them to make and receive payments online for whatever service or product they offer.
Speakers at a forum on electronic payment, organized for member countries of the West African Monetary Zone, were unhappy that Ghana was only making use of e-commerce in the field of imports while no efforts were being made to build the infrastructure to support export through the internet.
Mr Hesse said soon businesses in the country would also be able to sell their wares and receive payment via the internet.
He said the platform was ready and had been interfaced with government?s system, adding that, the banks will also shortly connect to it and make it possible for businesses to use the platform to make and receive payment online.
?When the e-commerce infrastructure is operational, foreigners who want to buy various products from Ghana can do so online. Our artifacts and other indigenous products could be advertised and sold online and I expect this to drive sales significantly and we would end the one-way traffic,? Mr Hesse said.
Mr Hesse expressed the hope that Ghana would soon reap the benefits of e-commerce. He stressed that GhIPSS is only providing the infrastructure which will be at the disposal of the private sector once their banks are hooked onto the system.
He said GhIPSS is in talks with both MasterCard and Visa to enable the National Switch provider to offer various services to facilitate payments including providing services on behalf of these international cards.
Already, a number of companies and small firms advertise their products online, implying that the coming into operation of the e-commerce platform would set in motion a new way of doing business in Ghana.
Following the establishment of GhIPSS by the Central Bank, payments systems have seen significant changes including electronic clearing of cheques, payment of salaries and other emoluments through the Automated Clearing House system and the e-zwich Payment Distribution System.