November 7, 2017
Apia, Samoa – Representatives of various Government Ministries in Samoa were introduced to the benefits and business case for the digitisation of government payments to its people.
The Central Bank of Samoa (CBS) partnered with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) to hold an introductory workshop this week to discuss the opportunities to increase the number of Government payments and receipts using digital channels, such as direct electronic fund transfers and mobile banking.
Government-to-Person (G2P) payments are the digitisation of government payments to citizens such as wage and pension payments.
In opening the workshop, Governor Atalina Enari said, “Digitisation of payments is one of the strategic objectives identified within the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017-2020. This momentum towards electronic payments has been driven by increased efficiency through cost savings and leakage reductions, increased transparency, reduced cash handling and related matters of safety, security and administration involved”.
PFIP Financial Inclusion Specialist, Amit Kumar Garg said that G2P and P2G payments have the potential to become a vehicle for extending financial inclusion and improving the welfare of disadvantaged people, for instance, those receiving pension benefits and those paying utility bills.
G2P payment flows can help reach a large part of the unserved or underserved population by encouraging the use of formal financial services. Recipients will also benefit from quick payments, reduced traveling time and costs.
“G2P flows builds in part on the progress made by the industry and the regulators to grow the digital banking in Samoa. It contributes to creating a digital payments ecosystem and helps the private sector to work with government agencies to develop a long-term business case,” he said.
The workshop was attended by 31 representatives of seven Government ministries, four state-owned enterprises, six financial services providers and utilities companies. All stakeholders were able to map the payments flows within their agencies, and identified opportunities to offer digital payment services to the users.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped over 1.6 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.
PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.