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Investors Talk To Boost Reforms

Talks are ongoing with investors to help in reformation efforts for a national payment system, Fiji’s central bank has said. Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Ariff Ali said Government’s support
16 Sep 2021 10:15
Investors Talk To Boost Reforms
Top: From left: Governor Reserve Bank of Fiji Ariff Ali, director Kapronesia Zennon Kapron, and regional manager UNCDF Pacific Bram Peters. Bottom: From left: Chairman and chief executive officer of SkyEye Pacific Sam Saili and Pacific ANZ Bank regional executive, Tessa Price

Talks are ongoing with investors to help in reformation efforts for a national payment system, Fiji’s central bank has said.

Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Ariff Ali said Government’s support for digital payments was evident at various levels.

“Government plays a pivotal role when it comes to digitising and developing payments in any economy,” he said.

He was speaking at a Zoom session about leveraging digital payments to address financial inclusion in the Pacific.

Mr Ali said the Government’s support was evident through its endorsement of the current national payment system reform project that was being led by the RBF.

 

“This includes the passing of the National Payments Systems Act 2021 by Parliament in February this year,” he said.

“The RBF is now working closely with Government and development partners to finalise the accompanying regulations.”

The rapid growth in innovations around electronic and digital money are radically reshaping the payment system environment, Mr Ali, said.

“While there has been steady growth in electronic transactions, I would say Fiji is still early in its digital transformation with promising opportunities in sectors such as Fintech, e-commerce, mobile wallet,” Mr Ali said.

 

Initiatives
In 2017, the Government made the commitment to transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty, and drive inclusive growth.

“Government’s main target was to channel 85 per cent of government payments through digital platforms by 2020,” Mr Ali said.

Since then, a number of initiatives by the Government have contributed to achieving this target, he said.

 

Some Initiatives Included:
• shifting voucher-based social welfare payments to electronic bank account transfers for 137,987 recipients;

• the use of electronic banking channels for pension payments to 44,489 pensioners and lease payments to landowners,

• e-transport: Implemented mandatory electronic payments services for buses through electronic cards (E-Transport),

• fee-free EFTPOS since 2019,

• COVID-19 pandemic cash assistance – $136.2 million [$32m (May-July 2021) and $104.2m (Aug 2021)].

 

Other Incentives Included:
• Subsidising subscription fees for two years for small businesses who register on Vodafone’s VitiKart platform as merchants to sell their goods online from August 1, 2021.

A total of $1.15 million is allocated to this facility; and

• A 200 per cent tax deduction incentive for investments in development and upgrade of online shopping platforms.

And these incentives will be further complemented by the tax incentives for companies that will land network cable and undertake associated infrastructure development in Fiji to bring faster internet speeds, at even lower costs.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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