BANK OF ALBANIA
Fifth Meeting of the National Payment Systems Committee
Publication date: 01.10.2019
On 1 October 2019, the National Payment Systems Committee (NPSC) held its fifth meeting, chaired by Ms Luljeta Minxozi, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Albania.
In addition to NPSC members, like the Chair of the Albanian Association of Banks (AAB) and the Chair of the AAB's Payments Committee, the meeting was also attended by representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority, the General Directorate of Taxes, the National Agency for Information Society (NAIS), as well as representatives of the World Bank and other international institutions. Representatives of banks, non-bank financial institutions, national operators of card payment schemes, and experts of the Bank of Albania were also invited to the meeting.
The meeting began with opening addresses by the Governor of the Bank of Albania, Mr Gent Sejko and the Minister of Finance and Economy, Ms Anila Denaj.
In his address, Governor Sejko stressed the importance of the reforms undertaken in the payment systems area and their role for the development of the country’s economy. Their implementation necessitates cooperation between public and private market stakeholders. In this respect, the Governor affirmed his appreciation for the productive work carried out so far. Since its establishment (2015), the National Payment System Committee has played an important role in supporting the activity of participating institutions in the area of payments, by increasing the security, stability and efficiency of the national payment system.
Governor Sejko focused on the results of the NPSC up to date, most notably the approval of the National Retail Payments Strategy. This Strategy aims to establish a contemporary and comprehensive retail payments market, and offer a wide range of payment instruments and services in order to fulfil the needs of their users nationwide. Another important initiative in this area is the promotion of the process of digitalization of payment services. The Bank of Albania has prepared the draft-law “On payment services”, which aims at promoting the use of electronic payment instruments by the public, decreasing their cost and consequently decreasing the use of cash in the economy.
In conclusion, Governor Sejko said that the implementation of these important initiatives also required a well-informed public. For this purpose, the Bank of Albania considers the drafting of a National Strategy for Financial Education as indispensable. It is estimated to bring numerous benefits in terms of expanding financial inclusion and deepening financial education.
In her address, Minister Denaj focused on the commitment of the government to fight informality in the economy, through various reforms and measures, highlighting the new draft-law on the so-called fiscalization, which was shared for public consultation in August.
“The main objective of this project is to fight fiscal evasion through a sound legislation, technological instruments and data obtained in real time on each transaction carried out in Albania. This law aims to create a new billing and monitoring system of business transactions in the country, based on a new system of fiscal instruments”, the Minister said.
After the opening addresses, the meeting continued with technical discussions. The General Director of Taxes, Ms Delina Ibrahimaj, presented details on the draft-law “On billing and monitoring system of circulation”, as well as several other initiatives undertaken by the tax administration regarding the increase of the efficiency of fiscal procedures and of the inter-institutional and inter-sectoral collaboration toward this goal.
The fifth meeting of the NPSC continued with the presentation of a series of studies and initiatives undertaken by the participating institutions, including: analysing government payments and the needs for interventions in the context of automation and digitalisation, by the World Bank; the need for intervention by the Bank of Albania on the remote identification of customers and the best practices in this area; the study of the informal economy and the opportunities for intervention in order to reduce it through the promotion of the use of electronic payment instruments, a study by Ernst & Young, supported by MasterCard.
In this context, findings were also discussed of a study by the Bank of Albania, with the support of the World Bank, on the costs of accepting cards as a means of payment by merchants.
Also, during the meeting, special attention was paid to the latest developments of NAIS, as a key institution in the digitalization of government services, as well as in terms of services provided by this institution for the implementation of the electronic signature.
Another issue of interest during this meeting was the need to develop a National Strategy on Financial Education. The creation of a national platform of action in this regard was emphasized as highly important by all participants. The need to coordinate the actions of all stakeholders was also noted.
At the conclusion of the meeting, based on its deliberations, the Committee Chair recommended the establishment of several working groups to take concrete action on raised issues regarding financial education, government payments, as well as card payments in the Albanian market.
In support of this Committee's strategic objective of modernizing retail payments, the 5th meeting ended with a special section, where various market stakeholders presented some of the latest initiatives in the payment market.