The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) and Perago, a SIA-SSB Group subsidiary, are currently in the implementation phase of a new interbank payments technology infrastructure in Palestine for the clearing and settlement of wholesale and retail payments. The new infrastructure is a hybrid system called an automated transfer system (ATS), which combines real-time gross settlement (RTGS) and clearing. The PMA expects to go live for the management of all payments exchanged between the 20 banks operating within the Palestinian territories by October 2010.
In line with the World Bank’s concept of two-in-one clearing and settlement system for developing nations, Palestine’s requirements included supporting both real-time high value payments and low value bulk payments through one infrastructure. The infrastructure will manage all four currencies currently accepted – euro, US dollar, Israeli shekel and Jordanian dinar – with a daily average of around 10,000 payments.
Dr. Jihad Al Wazir, governor of the PMA, said: “The PMA probably works in one of the most difficult environments in the whole world. Not only we are dealing with micro issues about liquidity at the branch level because of the Israeli-controlled checkpoints and all the negative effects of the occupation, but also the absence of a domestic currency has led to trading in four different currencies at the retail and business levels.”
Despite all this, the PMA has pressed ahead with its strategic transformation plans and is determined to achieve and complete its goals and objectives, planning to be ready as a fully-fledged central bank within two years.
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