Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (BBN) – The 17th SAARC Payments Council (SPC) meeting ended on Friday with high hopes to develop a uniform payment system for facilitating trade and investment flows within the region.
Central banks of the SAARC member countries are now working to develop the system to manage the cross-border payments within themselves at lower cost using latest technology.
“We should be established an interoperable system to manage cross-border payments to facilitate overall business activities in the region,” Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman said while inaugurating the programme at a local hotel in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday
The central bank chief also said the cooperation among the SAARC central banks regarding payment and settlement systems will lead us to the very spirit of the 18th SAARC Summit 2014 – Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity”.
“I believe adoption of a pragmatic and step-by-step approach towards solution of various issues will open up new avenues of cooperation among the SAARC nations,” he opined.
The BB governor also urged the SAARC central banks to design a process to appropriately contextualize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at regional level in payment systems arena.
During the two-long meeting, at least 20 high-ups from the central banks of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were participated aiming to facilitate trade and investment flows within the region through modernising the payment systems.
Harun Rasid Khan, Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) emphasised on the combined effort which may lead the region to an era of uniformity in trade payments which in turn open the opportunity of uniform payment systems for inter border transactions.
Nazneen Sultana, Deputy Governor of BB in her welcome remarks highlighted the opportunities and threats of innovative technologies in payment systems and how SPC countries can help each other to convert this threat to opportunity.
Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Chairman of SPC in his closing remarks hoped the efforts of today to modernise the payment systems of the region is opening the door of a brighter and prosperous tomorrow.
In the meeting the idea of cooperation among the member countries, especially in the area of legal and regulatory reforms, oversight policy and framework and infrastructural development of payment systems in SAARC Countries were discussed in details, the organizers said.
A seminar was organised after the SPC meeting on Cyber security on payment systems. The seminar sessions were conducted by Peter Andrew Gallagher from Reserve Bank of Australia and Bharat Panchal from National Payment Council of India.
Mr Gallagher talked about crypto currencies and securities where as Mr Panchal enlighten the participants about combating cyber frauds.
The SPC is a regional forum, created by SAARC FINANCE Group at a conference on regional payment group, held at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in July 2007.
The basic aim of establishing SPC was to develop an understanding to promote cooperation among the member countries to move forward in reforming their national payment and settlement systems, and to facilitate trade and investment flows in the region.

BBN/SSR/AD