Last Updated on Friday, 1 August 2014, 1:03 by GxMediaTransferring money and selling products and services via mobile phones will soon be included in laws governing financial institutions to protect providers and users, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh announced Thursday night.
“It’s an issue that the rest of the world is confronting too as mobile money takes hold…how do we ensure that a suitable regulatory environment is in place to facilitate the growth of the service and to ensure its safety and security, protection of the providers and protection of the consumers,” he said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company’s (GT&T) Mobile Money Guyana Inc.’s (MMG) Merchant Service called “Shop-n-Go” through which persons can purchase goods and services. The event was held at Herdmanston Lodge hotel, Peter Rose and Lamaha Streets, Queenstown, Georgetown.
The Finance Minister said that as Mobile Money becomes more pervasive, widely used and accepted, the regulators need to stay abreast with the technology because in reality financial services are being provided “outside the realm of conventional financial services.”
Singh stressed the importance of Mobile Money in minimizing the possession of large sums of liquid cash at a time when persons and businesses are being robbed. He noted that Mobile Money systems would help reduce the cost of making notes and coins.
Tracing the evolution of liquid cash to mobile airtime as an alternative currency, Chief Executive Officer of GT&T, Radha Krishna Sharma said the mobile wallet would revolutionize the way Guyanese immediately transact business through a safe and secure system. “This is historic for Guyana and GT&T is that transformative architect. The concept of our electronic wallet integrated in our mobile phone infrastructure is of tremendous significance for both the commercial, retail and financial sectors,” he said.
MMG’s Managing Director, Ishwar Thakurdin explained that the ‘Shop-n-Go” system would allow GT&T mobile subscribers to pay for goods and services at a wide range of places including supermarkets, service stations, hospitals, pharmacies, restaurants, hardware and general stores, and boutiques.
Shop-n-Go , he said, would initially be available at 70 merchant locations across Guyana.
Since MMG was launched for the transfer of cash, the system has evolved into paying GT&T, Guyana Water Inc; Guyana Power and Light and the Guyana Revenue Authority. There are also now 90 agents across Guyana including remote locations such as Annai, Mabura and Mahdia.