The Institute said at a press conference on Wednesday August 10 that the Bank of Ghana must take swift action to close down such illegal money transfer agencies in the country while it is in its infant stages or risk having the phenomenon gain a strong foothold difficult to deal with.
According to the Institute, the transfer of large portions of remittances to Ghana through informal and illegal channels greatly reduces the potential contribution of remittances to development.
A research fellow at the Institute, Nana Atobrah Quaicoe, who addressed the press, described the phenomenon as a dangerous trend which must be curbed immediately.
“Our research suggests that nearly 60% to 100% of total remittances are sent through the illegal money transfer routes. This translates into anything between $1.2 billion and $2.12 billion, including laundered money from crime proceeds, passed through the illegal money transfer channels in Ghana in 2010 alone.
“It is a very dangerous growing industry and our authorities must throw their focus on it”, he warned.
Nana Atobrah added, “The growing phenomenon of the underground money transfer represents a huge loss of revenue to the state in unpaid taxes from commissions collected by this Illegal Money Transfer Organisations (MTO) and even the capacity of the state to use these large income or foreign exchange to buy crude oil”.