Cabinet green lights new Payment System Bill – Williams

first_imgAs Guyanese law enforcement officials continue to grapple with frequent cases of ‘trailed’ bank robberies, Government is looking to move ahead with legislation that would not only increase the security of citizens, but modernise and boost the efficiency of the banking sector. This is according to Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General, Basil Williams, who said Cabinet last week approved the new piece of proposed legislation.“At Cabinet on Tuesday, we dealt with, and approved, the Payment Systems Bill, which will really transform the way we deal with financial and cash transactions. So [it will] reduce cash transactions in the first place, and substitute (those) with electronic transactions,” the Legal Affairs Minister said at an event where he underscored the need for local state prosecutors to be educated on the various financial crimes, so as to improve their efficiency.A National Payment System (NPS) is an infrastructure that provides the economy with the channels or circuits for processing the payments resulting from the many different types economic transactions that take place daily.The Bank of Guyana (BoG) was tasked with leading the development and implementation of a strategic approach to advance the development of Guyana’s NPS, by establishing the parameters to guide policy and set priorities.After widespread consultations with stakeholders, Central Bank, with assistance from the World Bank, last year commenced putting together a four-year comprehensive plan that would see the strategic transformation of the local payment system from paper-based mechanisms to electronic payments.The National Payment System Strategy (2017-2021) was handed over to Government last month. This is a developmental plan that envisions a “robust, sound, efficient and inclusive National Payment System (NPS) that meets the current and future needs of the economy, support financial activity and financial sector development, advances the use of electronic payments, contributes to financial risk mitigation, achieves compatibility with international systems, adheres to the relevant international standards, guidelines and codes.”The 59-page strategy and action plan is centred around nine pillars of a conceptual framework developed by the Work Bank on National Payment System. These include: legal framework, large value payments, retail payments, government transactions, securities depository, clearing and settlement, money markets, international remittances, oversight and cooperation.This strategy will aim to establish legal clarity and certainty to cover several areas, such as electronic funds transfer, e-money and cheque truncation.Additionally, steps will be made towards enhancing the efficiency of payment processing and the reduction of settlement times for both retail and large value transactions.The strengthening of risk management and mitigation across the national payments system and the expansion of the accessibility of electronic payment access networks will also be under focus.Central Bank will also seek to attract higher rates of electronic payment acceptance by vendors, merchants and other providers of goods and services, as well as advance the migration of Government to electronic payments for both the collection and disbursement of funds.Further, the BoG will drive remittance costs down and enhance the accessibility of remittance services, and strengthen the oversight framework and capacity.Back in 2016, Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr Gobind Ganga, had announced that Guyana could be saving as much as $6 million annually with a modernised payment system that makes optimum use of electronic payments.last_img

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