Speech delivered by Ms. Maja Kadievska-Vojnovic, Vice Governor of the NBRM, at the Eighth International Conference on Payment and Securities Settlement Systems held in Ohrid, on 10 - 13 May 2015
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honour to greet you and wish you a warm welcome to the Eighth Conference on Payment and Securities Settlement Systems. This year again, the Conference is organized by the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, in cooperation with the central banks of the Netherlands and Portugal, whose support and active participation have contributed to achieving and maintaining a high quality of the Conference. Therefore, allow me to use this opportunity to express my gratitude for this traditional cooperation of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia with De Nederlandsche Bank and the Bank of Portugal.
In addition, we in the NBRM are very pleased with the presence of the representatives of the central banks of the countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and the participation of the countries of the Black Sea region and North Africa. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in attending this Conference, which once again confirms the significant contribution of the Conference to the enrichment of the knowledge and exchange of experience of the representatives of the central banks in regional and international frames. Of course, the Conference would not be a unique treasure of knowledge and experience, if it did not include the representatives of the domestic financial system which by their continuous active participation, contribute to the thematic comprehensiveness of the Conference.
Dear colleagues from the financial sector in the country and abroad, let me give a brief overview, summarized in ten points, that will be covered in the agenda in the coming days.
First, the Conference will start with a presentation of the UNCTAD Information Economy Report for 2015 "Unlocking the Potential of E-commerce for Developing Counties". As technology advances, this topic has become even more important for the policy-makers, given that recent empirical research has identified positive effects of the development of e-commerce on the productivity of companies. In this context, the Report examines the opportunities and challenges faced primarily by companies in developing countries which want to engage in e-commerce. Comprising several thematic sections, the Report begins with a clear overview of recent trends in the development of e-commerce globally, with a wide range of official statistics; it continues with the opportunities and barriers for the development of e-commerce in rural environment and low-income countries and the assessment of countries' readiness to engage in e-commerce based on the constructed E-commerce Index. What makes it particularly important are the recommendations for the national strategies and policies for the promotion of e-commerce in developing countries aimed at creating an environment for exploiting the benefits of e-commerce, while reducing risks and costs.
The opportunities for development of e-commerce represent a challenge and an attractive field of interest also for the Republic of Macedonia, as a small country in transition and therefore today a panel discussion is scheduled, which encourages the active participation of the Macedonian financial sector, the regulators, and the domestic and international experts in the field of e-commerce. Second, during the Conference, significant attention will be devoted to the integration processes in the field of payments in the European Union and the ongoing development of the project for the Single European Payment Area (SEPA). After 15 years of preparation, SEPA was successfully implemented in 2014 for the credit transfers and direct debits within the euro area, enabling realization of over 2 billion transactions per month in a standardized form. The introduction of one euro bank account for all credit transfers and direct debits which can be used for cashless transfer of funds regardless of the location of the client or the company that makes payments within the EU, "instant" payments, and the development of person-to-person mobile payments in euro are just one part of the important aspects that will be presented during the Conference in the field of SEPA payments.
Third, at the Conference, particular attention will be devoted also to the challenges in the field of payment cards and innovation in payments. Regarding the integration processes within the SEPA, the tendency is credit cards, despite the complexity of the overall infrastructure, to reach the same level of harmonization and integration as is the case with credit transfers and direct debits, and hence is the challenge of creating conditions for their greater use in the future, where the risks and fraud will be reduced to a minimum. In order to contribute to addressing fraud in payments, and strengthen customer confidence in the use of Internet payments, the European Forum on the Security of Retail Payments, (SecuRe Pay) has defined 14 Harmonized European recommendations for the security of Internet payments that contain the minimum requirements for carrying out payment services over the Internet and have been applicable since 1 February 2015.
Fourth, beside the novelties in the field of payments, this Conference traditionally covers also the trends in securities settlement systems. In this context, the discussions will be directed toward realization of the project "TARGET2 Securities" (T2S), which is expected to provide cross-border real time settlement of transactions with securities on a "delivery versus payment" basis, by integrating transaction accounts and accounts for securities on a single platform.
Fifth, in the analysis of current developments in the collateral and liquidity management, during the Conference special emphasis will be placed on the monetary policy and quantitative easing in the euro area. Recent measures from the quantitative easing program of the ECB are aimed at reviving the economy in the euro area, and are expected to contribute to reducing the cost of borrowing and easing the credit conditions. In this respect, the ECB is in the process of buying securities in the amount of 60 billion euros from the private and public sector each month, no later than September 2016, thereby allowing banks to use the additional liquidity from the quantitative easing program for extending loans and reviving the economic activity.
Sixth, institutional changes will include the Euro Retail Payments Board, as the successor of the Council of SEPA. Migration of credit transfers and direct debits in accordance with the requirements of SEPA has not resolved all issues related to payments, which will appear on the agenda of the Board. Currently, the Board has been focused on finding solutions to prevent fragmentation in the field of instant payments by taking advantage of integration and harmonization achieved by the SEPA project. Seventh, globally financial inclusion has become an increasingly significant topic and takes a growing interest among economic policy makers, regulators and other stakeholders. Financial inclusion is already high up in the strategic vision of the NBRM. In this context, the Conference will embrace discussions on the benefits and effects of the financial inclusion of natural persons and SMEs on economic development. Favorable conditions for the opening of transaction accounts, expansion of banking networks, particularly in the underdeveloped areas, new financial products and the corresponding financial education, are just some of the aspects covered by this issue.
Eighth, trade financing through the use of instruments such as letters of credit and guarantees - supports nearly one third of global trade flows and is one of the safest forms of financing which directly affects the advancement and support of the global trade development. Analyses show that banks play a very important role in supporting international trade by guaranteeing international payments, which in turn has an impact on reducing the risk in these transactions. Trade financing, as a process that evolves in line with market expectations and technological advances will be particularly elaborated in the framework of this Conference.
Ninth, the European Commission permanently takes new initiatives in the regulation governing payments at European level, in terms of making proposals for revision and modernization of existing directives and introducing new regulations in the European market. In this context during the Conference discussions will be initiated on the proposal for revision of the Directive on payment services in the internal market 2007/64 (PSD2), as well European Commission drafted proposal for interchange fees for card-based payment transactions. In this context, of particular importance for the representatives of the financial sector in the Republic of Macedonia will be the presentation by the team leader of the project "Further harmonization with EU legislation on the free movement of capital and financial services - securities and investment services market". This project, which began in February 2015 and whose benefits are extremely important for the development of the new legal framework in the area of payment systems is financed by IPA 2010, and the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia actively participates in its implementation in the total duration of 18 months.
Tenth, the smooth functioning of payment transactions entails the need to protect and enhance the physical availability and accessibility of payment services for consumers and businesses. The new era of digital payments, such as contactless payments and payments via mobile phone resulted in increased payments through the Internet and mobile phones at the expense of the payments through banks' branches and ATMs. Global trends of continuous development and application of new payment technologies imposed continuous cooperation of all stakeholders involved in the national payment systems forums aimed at reducing the use of traditional payment instruments.
Ladies and gentlemen, at the end of my speech I declare the Eighth Conference on payment and securities settlement systems open, and I wish the chairman, Mr. Michiel van Duveren and his colleagues a successful Conference.
Finally, I wish you all a pleasant stay, hoping that you will take with you nice memories of the beauties of Macedonia. I hope that in the afternoon and in the evening you will have an opportunity to visit the city of Ohrid, which is one of the best testimonies of the existence of the Macedonian spiritual culture and history in this region.
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