The Vice President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia has justified the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration’s decision to review the controversial 4.6 billion dollars Sibton Switch System deal downwards, describing it as the right decision.
Speaking at the launch of the Pay Systems Company Limited in Accra today [Wednesday], Dr. Bawumia said the country is getting more at less cost under the reviewed deal.
“One company bid GHC 14 million and another company, for the same scope of work, bid 5 million Ghana cedis A third company, for the same scope of work, bid 4.6 billion Ghana cedi and guess who won? 4.6 billion cedis won that bid.“What are we trying to provide? And we have been able to do it for 4.5 million dollars and we have become the leading country in interoperability.”
In 2016, it was reported that Bank of Ghana had awarded private company Sibton Switch Ltd. a GH¢4.6 billion contract to build a system which would “among other things serve as a single window for all e-payment transactions….to increase penetration and enhance payment delivery channels”.
But telecom companies opposed the arrangement.
The Vice President was subsequently petitioned by Citi FM to review or revoke the deal which may have been overpriced.
Dr Bawumia finally announced in late 2017 that the contract with Sibton was cancelled and that the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Central Bank was asked to implement the system.
GhIPSS has since implemented the system at a far lower cost of $4.5 million.
Following the launch of the first phase of the mobile money interoperability system last week, many have criticised the previous administration for what could have been a waste of state resources.
However a former deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson has said the system recently launched by Dr Bawumia was not functional.
“The system that they are referring to doesn’t work. It is not working. That $4 million that they claim they have spent on that system does not work. I tried it, and it doesn’t work. We should stop this propaganda,” Ato Forson said.
Meanwhile, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) believes the new system launched by Bawumia is different in scope from the original contract, hence the disparity in the cost.
Speaking at a news conference in Accra on Monday, the former Deputy Governor who resigned from the Bank last year said it would be erroneous to compare to the system Sibton Switch was contracted to build to what was recently launched.
“I am out of office, and I cannot say what is being done now, but if I look at the details and scope of work in the original contract as stated here, it goes far beyond what was launched last week… It is like comparing antelope and an elephant. I am not sure the price will be same,” he said.