Sri Lanka approves national payment platform for digital commerce
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has approved the setting up of a National Payments Platform (NPP) to handle online payments as part of government efforts to encourage digital transactions, a spokesman said.
The NPP will help overcome a key constraint on the use of credit cards whose use is now low because of high transaction charges levied by international payment card schemes, said Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka.
“Despite their convenience, use of credit cards is low,” he told a news conference. “As a result the country is yet to achieve the desired level of digitalisation. The government aims to create a knowledge-based society through digitally empowered citizenry.”
Government institutions such as Sri Lanka Customs, Department of Inland Revenue, Department of Excise and other government institutions and businesses are now unable to accept online payments, according to the finance ministry.
This is because transaction values are large and these institutions cannot bear the high transaction fees levied by international card schemes.
The NPP is being developed by the state-run Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and will help improve Sri Lanka’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business index and bring cost savings to government, according to the ministry proposal approved by the cabinet.
All government institutions are to become integrated with the proposed NPP which business and citizens can use to make online payments in real-time.
LankaClear, an electronic clearing house owned by banks which handles inter-bank funds transfers, is to integrate with NPP.
(COLOMBO, July 13, 2016)