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Financial interoperability necessary for growth economy; Dr Atiur

Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr Atiur Rahman said ‘financial interoperability’ is necessary for maximizing the benefits of financial inclusion.

Mobile money interoperability allows customers of different mobile financial services providers to interact with each other.

“This will impart dynamism in the economy and growth will be further strengthened,” he said.

Dr Atiur also noted that due to the rolling out of services like Mobile Financial Service (MFS) and agent banking, financial inclusion has been simplified in the country.

He was addressing the inaugural session of a training programme titled “Financial Interoperability in Bangladesh: Challenges and Way Forward” as the chief guest, organized jointly by the Policy Research Institute (PRI) and the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF), at the ERF auditorium in the capital on Wednesday.

Presided over by ERF vice president and AFP Bureau Chief Shafiqul Alam, ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam delivered the welcome speech.

PRI Research Director Dr Abdur Razzaque, Dhaka University Economics Department Prof Dr Bazlul H Khondker and Bangladesh Bank executive director Debdulal Roy made deliberations in the technical sessions of the programme.

Financial interoperability is such a scope which could be utilized later on after exchanging information from one system to another or making transactions, speakers said at the function.

It is like the scope for holding direct transactions between the clients of two separate MFS companies as well as the scope for transferring amounts between the clients of two separate banks, they said.

Currently such kind of transaction is called interconnectivity. The Bangladesh Bank launched interoperability among the MFS companies in October 2020, but it was halted within hours of its launching. Since then, the service is yet to be restored, they added.

Dr Atiur also said financial interoperability is necessary to adapt with the evolving changes adding that measures should be taken so that the common people can make transactions in the normal shops through scanning QR codes.

“There is also a demand for this, but the government will have to develop necessary infrastructures in this regard, which also requires investment. The Indian government has invested a lot in introducing such a system. Bangladesh also needs to do the same,” he added.

He opined that if the private companies make the investment instead of the government, then they would charge the clients against their will. “It will create doubt about the sustainability of the system. For this, there is a need to make proper allocations in the budget,”

Debdulal Roy said whatever transaction and exchange of information are taking place in the country’s financial sector is not interoperability, rather it is interconnection.

“Now, time has come for going towards interoperability. It will make transactions multidimensional and thus will boost the strength of the economy,” he added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh