Comesa electronic payment system boosts intra-trade

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

The value of transactions processed on the Regional Payment and Settlement System (REPSS) has now crossed $50 million (Shs190b) with nine Central Banks in Comesa region using the system.

REPSS enables member states to use local currencies in their intra-Comesa trade. Importers and exporters deal with their local commercial banks for trade documentation.

The importer’s payment to the exporter is then channeled through the Central Bank of the importer to the Central Bank of the exporter using the REPSS Platform.

The Central Banks whose internal processes are live on this system are Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Eswatini (Swaziland) and Zambia.

Commenting about this performance, the executive secretary of Comesa Clearing House Mr Mahmood Mansoor, said: “REPSS guarantees prompt payment for exports thus eliminating mistrust among traders owing to the involvement of Central Banks.”

Central Banks of Burundi, Djibouti, Madagascar, Sudan and Zimbabwe are expected to go live soon after completing ongoing internal processes and readiness aspects. Central Banks of Comoros, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya and Seychelles are also expected to start preparing for the REPSS.

Commenting about this system, Mr Jjemba Mulondo, the Secretary for mediation in Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita), said: “The system has proved to be cost-effective and traders should embrace it to cut costs.”

By June this year, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) accounted for 91 per cent of the total value of Dollar transactions while the Bank of Uganda (BoU) accounted for 80 per cent of the value of Euro transactions.

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