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Payment system reforms to support economic activity

February 13, 2021 4:59 pm

Everyday transactions will be made easier and faster under reforms being introduced by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

The reforms will modernize the nation’s financial system, in turn supporting small businesses and individuals and promoting inclusive economic development.

Parliament this week, passed the National Payment System Act, paving the way for this reform program that is set to boost access to affordable payment services through digital solutions and support the drive for greater financial inclusion.

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The reform program, being overseen by the RBF, is expected to take two years and will also see RBF introduce critical payments, clearing and securities infrastructure and enable the development of innovative digital payment services with due regard for risk mitigation and consumer protection.

RBF Governor Ariff Ali says sound, safe and efficient payment solutions will be extremely useful for businesses and households both in urban and rural areas.

Ali adds that providing this platform is critical for fostering digital payment solutions that will increase access to financial services for micro, small and medium enterprises, and women, as well as offer modern innovative solutions for government payments and social transfers.

International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, with the support of the governments of Australia and New Zealand as well as the World Bank, has provided technical expertise to the RBF in relation to this landmark reform.

In Fiji, the use of existing electronic payment mechanisms and services have increased over time however they are yet to reach their full potential, with cash being widely used in retail payments and in many types of business-to-business transactions, including bill payments.

IFC Resident Representative to Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu, Deva De Silva says the National Payment System Act allows for the emergence of new payment mechanisms based on digital and innovative solutions that can serve a larger portion of the population, including those in areas that are either underserved or completely locked out of the current financial system adding that this legislation and the reforms make it possible to align Fiji with advanced financial markets.

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