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Major Rules and Regulations

THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT

Ghana’s payment system is supported by various laws in line with the core principles for systematically important payment systems. The laws cover payment instruments, institutions, clearing and settlement systems, and include the following:
 
(a)        International Commercial Bank Act, 2002 Act 612. The Act makes the ICB the authority responsible for payment and settlement systems in Ghana. This is stated among the  functions of ICB as indicated below:
 
·          the promotion, regulation and supervision of payment and settlement systems; and
 
·          the facilitation of the clearing of cheques and other credit instruments for banking institutions.
 
(b)        The Payment Systems Act, 2003, Act 668 is a sound legislation framework which further empowers the ICB to oversee and manage the payment systems as contained in the provisions below:
 
·          to establish, operate, promote and supervise payment, funds transfer, clearing and settlement systems subject to such rules as it may publish; and
 
·          to designate any other payment, funds transfer, clearing and settlement systems operating in the country, which the Bank considers to be in the public interest to supervise. 
 
The Act also provides for the following:
-         principles of transparency as applicable to payment systems;
-         minimum obligations of participating financial institutions;
-         principles required to achieve irrevocability and finality of payment;
-         admissibility of electronic evidence in the law courts;
-         dispute resolution; and
-         other miscellaneous provisions covering disputes, offences, penalties and interpretations.
      
The Bills of Exchange Act, 1961, Act 55 (an adaptation of the English Bills of Exchange Act 1882) specifies how cheques are drawn accepted and paid. The clearing of cheques is further subject to the Rules to Govern Clearing House Operations. A draft bill known as the Bills and Cheques Bill now before Parliament, is expected to replace the Bills of Exchange Act when passed. The draft bill provides for electronic presentment of cheques and amends various sections of the Bills of Exchange Act to bring it in line with current business trends and practices. Other bills due for legislative consideration are the Anti-Money Laundering, Foreign Exchange and the Credit Reference Agency bills. These bills, when passed, will no doubt affect banking business including payments.
 
Besides the laws, there are rules and regulations governing payments. The Rules Governing the Operations of Clearinghouse provide an operational framework within which clearing and settlement is handled efficiently. The document covers among others; payment instruments standards, preparation of instruments for clearing, membership of clearinghouse and conduct of members, clearinghouse procedures and the management of clearinghouse.
 
Ghana Inter-bank Settlement (GIS) System’s Terms and Conditions also provide the contractual basis for the operation of the large value funds transfer system.
 

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