Home » Bawumia’s Credit Score Claim Debunked by Think Tank

Bawumia’s Credit Score Claim Debunked by Think Tank

IMANI Africa exposes the lies of XDS Ghana, a credit bureau that backed the vice president’s assertion that Ghana lacks a credit scoring system.

by Victor Adetimilehin

A heated debate has erupted in Ghana over the existence of a credit scoring system, after Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia announced a plan to introduce one in 2024. Bawumia claimed that Ghana does not have a credit scoring system, and that his government will use the Ghana Card, a national identification card, to create one.

However, his claim was challenged by IMANI Africa, a policy think tank, which argued that Ghana already has two operational credit bureaus that offer credit scores, namely XDS Ghana and Hudson Price Data Solutions. IMANI Africa’s vice president, Bright Simons, posted excerpts from the websites of these companies, which clearly advertised their credit scoring services.

XDS Ghana, which was cited by Bawumia as a partner in his plan, issued a press release on December 5, 2023, denying that it offers credit scores. It said that it only provides credit reports, and that it needs the Ghana Card penetration to reach 90% before it can offer credit scores.

However, IMANI Africa has exposed the lies of XDS Ghana, by providing evidence that the company has been offering credit scores for years. IMANI Africa’s president, Franklin Cudjoe, and Simons shared screenshots of an old website of XDS Ghana, dating back to 2021, which showed that the company advertised credit scores as part of its comprehensive credit report service.

Based on a report by Ghana Web, the screenshots also showed that XDS Ghana offered free credit scores to individuals who registered on its website, and that it used a credit scoring model that ranged from 300 to 850, similar to the FICO score used in the United States.

IMANI Africa also pointed out that XDS Ghana has a branch affiliate in Nigeria, called First Central Credit Bureau, that offers free credit scores in addition to credit reports, even though Nigeria’s national ID penetration is less than 10%, compared to Ghana’s over 50%.

IMANI Africa accused XDS Ghana of lying to cover up for Bawumia, and called on the vice president to apologize to Ghanaians for misleading them. It also questioned the credibility and competence of XDS Ghana as a credit bureau, and urged the Bank of Ghana to investigate its operations.

Bawumia has not responded to the allegations of IMANI Africa, but his economic advisor and spokesperson, Dr. Gideon Boako, has defended him, saying that he was referring to a national credit scoring system that is integrated with the Ghana Card, and not the existing credit bureaus.

Boako also accused IMANI Africa of being biased and ignorant, and asked Simons to apologize to Bawumia for his criticism.

The debate on the credit scoring system has sparked a lot of interest and controversy among Ghanaians, who are eager to access affordable and convenient credit facilities. Many have expressed their views on social media, with some supporting Bawumia’s plan, and others siding with IMANI Africa’s arguments.

The credit scoring system is expected to be a major campaign issue in the 2024 general elections, as both the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have promised to improve the financial inclusion and empowerment of Ghanaians.

However, some experts have cautioned that a credit scoring system alone is not enough to solve the challenges of the credit market, and that other factors, such as interest rates, collateral requirements, and financial literacy, also need to be addressed.

They have also advised Ghanaians to be careful and responsible with their credit behavior, and to avoid falling into debt traps that could ruin their financial future.

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