Papua New Guinea commits to digitizing all government payments-2

Papua New Guinea commits to digitizing all government payments

April 2, 2015

PNG’s Ministries of Finance and Treasury endorse Better Than Cash Alliance membership

NEW YORK/ PORT MORESBY, 2 April 2015 – The Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance with endorsements from Minister for Finance, James Marape and Minister for Treasury, Patrick Pruaitch. The Government has committed to making all payments through electronic channels, including all government salaries and social protection payments.

Papua New Guinea commits to digitizing all government payments-1

Participants in the 2014 Financial Inclusion Expo organized by the Bank of Papua New Guinea. Photo Credit: Bank of Papua New Guinea

The Minister for Treasury, Patrick Pruaitch, today announced PNG’s membership to the Better Than Cash Alliance in Port Moresby, and said that both he and his Cabinet colleague, Finance Minister Mr James Marape, endorsed PNG’s membership of the Alliance.

This move now makes Papua New Guinea the first Pacific nation to join the Better Than Cash Alliance, committing to leverage electronic payments and increase security, transparency and convenience for its people. The Better Than Cash Alliance is a UN-housed alliance of governments, development organizations and companies that are committed to the transition to electronic payments as means to achieve the goals of empowering people and growing emerging economies.

“We are delighted to join Better Than Cash Alliance to accelerate Papua New Guinea’s shift to electronic payments, and thereby rapidly advance financial inclusion for all Papua New Guineans. Using digital tools like mobile and branchless banking will help people build savings while giving the Government a more cost-effective, efficient, transparent and safer means of disbursing and collecting payments,” said Mr Pruaitch.

Mr Loi Bakani, The Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG), also welcomed the announcement, saying: “I strongly welcome the news that the Government of PNG has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance. This is a significant step in our national progress towards financial inclusion, which is one of the Bank of Papua New Guinea’s major objectives. Indeed, the Bank has established a dedicated Financial Inclusion Unit whose objective is to promote concrete activities nationwide and to coordinate the different initiatives that are under way.”

The Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) is already scaling up access to financial services and improving financial literacy. Due to active campaigning, financial institutions across Papua New Guinea opened 464,514 new bank accounts from December 2013 to June 2014. Of these, 31 percent are women. The Bank is now working toward a goal of 1 million more clients by December 2015 across all banking partners.

Papua New Guinea commits to digitizing all government payments-2

Participants in the 2014 Financial Inclusion Expo organized by the Bank of Papua New Guinea. Photo Credit: Bank of Papua New Guinea

In line with the National Payments System Strategy, the Bank of Papua New Guinea has initiated a number of key programs, including the Kina Automated Transfer System (KATS). Using KATS, anyone with a bank account can transfer funds completely electronically without having to use checks or cash. “Both BPNG and the Department of Finance are working together to move all government payments from cash or checks to KATS. This will ensure that government employees and other recipients of government payments will receive their money quickly and securely. We welcome the involvement of the Better Than Cash Alliance to provide access to special resources to support this process,” added Governor Loi Bakani.

In addition to raising awareness of the benefits of replacing physical cash with electronic payments, the Better Than Cash Alliance provides expertise to help facilitate the transition for governments, the development community and the private sector. “We welcome Papua New Guinea as the newest member of the Better Than Cash Alliance and commend the government’s leadership to continue transitioning away from cash and empowering its people,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance. “We stand ready to support Papua New Guinea in their commitment to financial inclusion – digitizing payments is achievable when a government articulates a clear vision.”

“We are excited by the growing number of country governments joining the Better Than Cash Alliance. This is a true sign of their commitment to improving digital financial options for their citizens. We look forward to working with the Government of Papua New Guinea to strengthen their commitment to integrate electronic payments into their economy. I am confident that Papua New Guinea will benefit from the tools and resources available as members of the Alliance,” said Roy Trivedy, Papua New Guinea’s UN Resident Coordinator.

With 33 members, Better Than Cash Alliance is hosted by the United Nations Capital Development Fund and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Visa Inc. UNCDF also advances financial inclusion through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) – a Pacific-wide program helping low-income households gain access to quality and affordable financial services and financial education.

Contacts:

Better Than Cash Alliance: Sabrina Sidhu (New York) ; sabrina.sidhu@uncdf.org; +1 6466627186

Department of Finance, Government of Papua New Guinea: Mr Wally Hiambohn, Communications Officer; wally_hiambohn@finance.gov.pg ; + (675) 72980811

Bank of Papua New Guinea: Jon Kombeng, Manager – Communication & Publications Unit; JKombeng@bankpng.gov.pg ; + (675) 7365 6772; http://www.bankpng.gov.pg/

About the Better Than Cash Alliance

The Better Than Cash Alliance partners with governments, the development community, and the private sector to empower people by shifting from cash to electronic payments. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, USAID and Visa Inc. are funders and the U.N. Capital Development Fund serves as the secretariat. To learn more, visit www.betterthancash.org, follow@BetterThan_Cash, and subscribe for news.

About the Department of Finance, Government of Papua New Guinea

The Department of Finance is a key central agency of the government of Papua New Guinea mandated by the Constitution, the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-level Governments and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). To learn more, visit http://www.finance.gov.pg/

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