Imbert pushes for e-payment providers

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Finance Minister Colm Imbert

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said he wants TT to have as many e-money issuers (EMI) and e-payment service providers as possible, as he announced incentives to new entrants in this field as he piloted the Finance (Number 2) Bill 2022 in the House of Representatives on Friday.

He wants a multiplicity of providers, not any monopoly.Notes to the bill said it would provide for a one-time tax credit of $50,000 for 2023, to a company registered as an e-money issuer under the E-Money Issuer Order 2020 or to a payment service provider (PSP) company registered by the Central Bank.

“The tax credit will be in respect of expenditure incurred in income year 2023, for inter alia, the acquisition of equipment, intellectual property related to software outsourcing and creation, product development or web development,” the notes said.

Imbert said, “Payment service providers (PSPs) are companies registered as such by the Central Bank which facilitate the transfer of money or the discharge of obligations between or among entities, other than banks. These are entities completely different to banks.

“We have quite an emerging group of such companies in TT. We haven’t quite got to the full case of mobile wallets and so on but we are getting there.”

He said he had made an e-money order under the Financial Institutions Act 2020 which sets out the legal framework for the licensing and operating of EMIs.

Imbert said e-money or electronic money is defined under the Financial Institutions Act as monetary value stored on an electronic device which is accepted by different parties, but is not a deposit.

“With the existence of e-money issuers in the financial system, it is expected there will be growth in the domestic payment systems as these issues would aid in fostering competition and encouraging greater use and efficiency of electronic payments and e-commerce, reduce the use of cash and cheque payments, and promote greater financial inclusion.”

Imbert rejected any idea of any sole PSP or EMI in TT.”There have been efforts in TT, which we in finance resisted vigorously, for a monopoly situation with respect to payment service providers and e-money issuers.

“Recently we had a visit from experts from Lithuania, which is one of the leaders in the world together with Estonia in electronic payments, and they advised us and it is already the policy we are following, that with respect to payment service providers and e-money issuers, there should be as much competition as possible and monopolies should be discouraged.”

He believes tax-credit for EMIs and PSPs would incentivise expansion in the sector and encourage competition, thereby promoting value and quality.

The tax credit would be $50,000 for expenditure incurred in 2023, Imbert said.

He explained the tax credit would cover “the acquisition of equipment, intellectual property related to software outsourcing and creation, product development, web development, security and maintenance, hosting, regulatory costs or bank settlement fees.”

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