Central banks of Asean countries seal cooperation in regional payment connectivity

PETALING JAYA: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Bank Indonesia, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank of Thailand (BoT) have sealed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in regional payment connectivity (RPC) to support faster, cheaper, transparent, and inclusive cross-border payments.

The group in a statement said the RPC is expected to be a contributor to accelerating regional economic recovery and promoting inclusive growth.

It serves to support and facilitate cross-border trade, investment, financial deepening, remittance, tourism, and other economic activities, as well as a more inclusive financial ecosystem in the region, particularly beneficial for micro, small, and medium enterprises as it will facilitate their participation in international markets.

The MoU was signed on Nov 14 in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. The summit also marks the start of Indonesia’s chairmanship of Asean in 2023 with a keynote address from Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo.

President Widodo in his speech emphasised the importance of concrete joint collaborative action in addressing global challenges.

Going forward, the initiative could be expanded to include other countries in the region and potentially other partner countries outside the region.

Bank Indonesia governor Perry Warjiyo underscored that the bilateral payment connectivity arrangements will be expanded as part of the region’s efforts to strengthen economic integration.

BNM governor Nor Shamsiah Yunus said realising the vision of the Asean regional network of cross-border payment systems will advance digital ambitions and deepen financial integration for the benefit of the region’s economic development.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon stated Asean’s effort is aligned with the G20’s goal of addressing existing frictions in global cross-border payments, creating business opportunities and enabling inclusive growth.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas deputy governor Mamerto E. Tangonan added that the MoU will translate into efficiency gains and cost savings in international financial transactions and economic activities.

BoT deputy governor Ronadol Numnonda emphasised that the MoU also dovetails Asean members’ current network of bilateral cross-border payment linkages and will serve as a basis for multilateral collaboration going forward.