– Bank of Guyana Report
While there are specific legal provisions for international remittance services, there are no statutory or regulatory provisions to govern a range of other payment services and payment mechanisms in Guyana.
This was outlined in a critical report that looks at the implementation of the National Payment System Plan which was prepared by the World Bank in partnership with the Bank of Guyana.
In that report, the Central Bank notes that there are no statutory provisions on electronic transactions, including the electronic processing of cheques and the use of truncated or electronic cheques.
The Bank said, too, that there are no provisions on credit transfers, either paper-based or electronic, or on electronic debit transfers. It outlined that no secondary measures exist on cards, either credit or debit, or on e-money instruments.
Apart from the specific provisions on international remittances, Bank of Guyana officials said that the law is silent on whether non-banks are allowed to offer other payment services.
In the absence of such provisions, the officials said that the provision of domestic remittances and bill payment services by Money Transfer Agents (MTA) falls completely outside legal and regulatory framework, and thus, outside the reach of Bank of Guyana oversight.
NATIONAL PAYMENT SYSTEM
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan officially launched the implementation plan for the National Payment System (NPS) last week.
The economist announced that the plan and its execution will be led by the Bank of Guyana.
According to the document, the Bank recognizes that Guyana’s National Payments System falls short of meeting the needs of the economy and financial markets for efficient, safe and sound means to conduct transactions and transfer funds.
To overcome these shortfalls, the Central Bank is undertaking the leadership role in a comprehensive and strategic modernization of Guyana’s NPS. With the active participations and cooperation of all NPS stakeholders, the Bank intends to undertake a comprehensive initiative to modernize the NPS and advance the use of electronic payments.
It was further noted that the broad purpose of the NPS Plan is to state an agreed vision and strategies by all stakeholders in a broadened context based on the findings and conclusions of the Bank and World Bank diagnostics.
The final report provides key stakeholders with the policies, and organizational, technical and operational issues as discussed that are being undertaken as the Bank progresses with the successful implementation of the NPS in Guyana. The Bank noted that a successful initiative requires active participation from key stakeholders at both the policy and the operational level.
Furthermore, the National Payment System Strategy which was released by the Finance Minister consists of four chapters and five annexes.
Chapter One examines the current state of payment in Guyana. It notes that the Bank of Guyana is the institution responsible for payments. Be that as it may, the document makes clear that there is need to upgrade the laws, regulations and infrastructure for a safe, efficient and modern payment system. The chapter analyses the role of the main players in the current payments arrangement.
Chapter Two examines how the Bank will lead the development of the NPS Strategy. It defines the role of a National Payment System as a series of layers in an inverted pyramid in which each layer is supported by layers beneath it.
Chapter Three explores Guyana’s vision to build a safe, robust, sound, efficient and inclusive payment system that meets the current and future needs of the economy. It proposes the year 2030 as a realistic target for full realization of the NPS vision. However, in the medium term it proposes a 2017-2021 action plan as a first phase on achieving that vision.
The fourth chapter concludes with a highlight of the 2017 – 2021 NPS Development Strategy and plan of actions. The Strategy also has attached five annexes.
The preparation of the payment strategy has been a joint effort of the Bank of Guyana and a team from the World Bank. A preliminary draft of the strategy was issued to stakeholders for their comments in August 2016.
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