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EAC Central Banks unveil Cross-border Payment System

By Julius Businge

Bank of Uganda has officially announced the commencement of the East African Cross Border Payment System (EAPS) that links the real time gross settlement systems (RTGS) of the EAC member countries.

Joyce Okello, the director payments and settlement at the Bank said the platform went live on Nov. 25, a few days before the signing of the monetary union protocol in Kampala by the five heads of states.

“The signing and the launch of the platform were by coincidence,” Okello told a press conference at Bank of Uganda head offices.

The initiative, which is supervised by the EAC central banks and facilitated by commercial banks, is operational in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Okello said, Rwanda and Burundi are still working on their systems, once they are done they will join their counterparts at some point next year (2014).

The system is a multi-currency system in which payments are effected using any of the currencies of the EAC partner states.

Officials said, it will make cross-border payments easier and facilitate safe and efficient transfer of monetary value within the region.

It will also promote regional trade, Okello said, adding the usual charges by commercial banks on the transactions ranging between Shs 5, 000-10, 000 will be charged.

“The platform has no charges,” she said.

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