The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has embarked on a program of reforms to modernize the National Payments System (NPS) and bring the systems in line with international standards for safety and efficiency. The Large value and retail payment systems are important components of the reforms as they are necessary to support the authorities’ financial stability and financial inclusion goals. Payment services are often the gateway to the use of banking and other financial services, facilitating access to credit and supporting economic development, especially among the rural poor. In furtherance of the Central Bank of Liberia’ s public policy goals, the CBL and the Government must coordinate with the banks and other payment service providers to ensure broad-based access to a wide range of electronic payment instruments and promote their use.
Liberia, through its membership in the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ), became a beneficiary of a grant from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for the upgrade of the payment systems infrastructure, as part of a regional project covering the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The project constitutes a wider National Payment System modernization initiative which was launched by the central bank in December 2010 the broad aims of which are to reduce risk and enhance efficiency in the payment systems.
The components of the payment and settlement infrastructure include the following:
- A Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system – the backbone for the National Payment System, settling the payment leg of all large value payments and securities transactions;
- A Scripless Securities Settlement (SSS) system – allowing book-entry and custody for Government securities and central bank notes;
- An Automated Clearing House (ACH) – a single clearinghouse for checks, credit and debit transfers, card transactions and other retail instruments.
- National Electronic Payment Switch (NEPS) - NEPS facilitates the process of routing and settling interoperable ATM and POS transactions, Instant Interbank Funds Transfer and Bill payment transactions among banks and nonbanks.