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Money Transfer to Ghana/Africa: Share Your Experience and Comment

Money Transfer to Ghana/Africa: Share Your Experience and Comment 

Money transfer to relatives and friends back home is one job all of us in the Diaspora have in common. We may be continuous accused of abandoning Ghana for “greener pastures” but we cannot stop remitting, because without it, we cannot be certain what will happen to those we have left behind. There is no doubt that overseas money transfer plays significant role in the Ghanaian economy. What I do not know is whether the government has proper regulatory frame work to monitor the transfer process once the money is in the system. Following are two experiences from Australia. I am sure some of you may have similar experiences to share. At the end of it all, we expect a good government take a necessary action to save a vital economy activity. Surely people cannot continue to send money home for an urgent assignment only to have it locked up with a local bank.
A professor friend and I have been living in Australia for some time. He lives in another town, about six hundred kilometres away from me. About two months ago, he called to inform me about a telegraphic transfer he had made to Ghana through the National Investment Bank (NIB) in Kumasi. These transfers normally take a maximum of three days to get there, and that had been the case in recent years. However, this time around, two weeks had passed and the nominated account in Ghana had not been credited with the amount. Eventually, he had to go back the bank in Australia and pay another fee for the money to be traced. After one month, the money finally reached the account. The explanation from a top official at the bank was that, the day of the transfer was a public holiday in Ghana. How a single holiday could lead to one month delay, and how a university educated bank manager was bold enough to offer such an explanation beats my imagination. What is even more surprising is that the friend has a transfer template set up on his computer. All that he had to do is enter the amount and press the button. There is hardly any room for error. The system has worked perfectly well in the last so many years, but unfortunately not this time.

Believing that it was just one off bad experience, on the 29 of July 2009, I approached my bank, which is a different bank from my friend’s bank, and at my branch, which is over 600km from where my friend lives. The only thing we had in common was the bank in Ghana: National Investment Bank, Kumasi. I completed my transfer at the branch, not on my private computer, using a copy of a receipt from previous transfer. As I am writing (26/8/09) the money has not been credited to the nominated account in Ghana. I have gone back to my Bank to pay another fee for the money to be traced. The Australian bank called me this morning to inform me that the money was credited to NIB on the 31 July 2009. So where is the money? Why has it not been credited to the beneficiary? What has the bank got to say? These are questions I may never have answers.

I am very certain that the money will eventually re-surface. But why should such incidents be able to happen so easily? Surely, some regulatory framework should be put in place to protect the local leg of the transfer route, if the government is to continue to benefit from such a vital economic activity.

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