Payment System

March 27, 2008 (LBO) – The SAARC Payments Initiative (SPI), enabling a more efficient payment mechanism among south Asian countries, is to be launched in Colombo tomorrow, the Sri Lanka Central Bank said Thursday. The initiative will upgrade the region’s payment systems to international standards and help promote trade and investment in south Asia, a Central Bank statement said.

Central bankers from the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation will discuss a five year road map and action plan to improve the region’s payment and settlement system.

Sri Lanka was asked to lead the effort at a meeting of south Asian central bank governors in Washington in October last year.

Under the SPI, member central banks will collectively work to establish and adopt a regional approach and policies that help modernize national as well as regional payment systems.

The Central Bank said reforms of national payment and settlement systems will now have a regional forum under the SPI for SAARC countries to help and learn from each other.

“The SPI will provide an effective institutional arrangement for the SAARCFINANCE Group to achieve one of its key policy objectives, working towards an efficient