- The steps of the Iraqi government to move towards the payment of salaries of employees electronically, within the framework of an integrated program, experts say it will contribute to increase the activity of the banking sector and raise the efficiency of payments and reduce the handling of cash and will have positive economic repercussions.
The Arabs [published in 2017/08/11, number: 10719, p. 10]
A rapid decline in currency trading
BAGHDAD – The Iraqi government is struggling to expand its dependence on electronic payment cards to give employees salaries, paving the way for reduced paper currency transactions.
The government in Baghdad has adopted a plan to implement the project to pay all salaries electronically, and hopes to complete it fully in 2020.
The project means the transfer of salaries of employees in the public and private sectors of salaries received in cash from their departments, to be received from government or private banks.
The process is supposed to be done through a special account opened to the employee in the bank and withdraw from it by electronic payment card or withdraw money from the bank in cash.
Iraqi experts and officials say the system is rampant in many countries as the banking sector expands its business and services.
They pointed out that the implementation of the project will contribute greatly in reducing the time and effort and cost in the transactions of banks and transactions of citizens of various financial, in addition to reducing the handling of cash.
The appearance of Mohammed Saleh, financial adviser to Prime Minister Haider Abadi, that the project to settle salaries is in accordance with plans set for him by the government.
Mohammed Saleh’s appearance: The project aims mainly at raising the efficiency of the payment system and activating the banking sector
He explained that the project includes several objectives, including raising the efficiency of the payment system and revitalizing the banking sector through the granting of loans and diversification of other services.
“Keeping cash inside and not trading in the market leads to a huge loss of up to 8 percent of GDP, which is estimated at $ 12 billion,” he said.
“The salaries of state employees, retirees and social welfare constitute 50 percent of the state budget, equivalent to 25 percent of gross domestic product, an important gateway to make their salaries online,” he said.
The number of Iraqis who receive salaries and pension pensions, along with monthly subsidies about seven million people. The government hopes to introduce them to electronic payment cards before 2020, while accurate figures are not available for the private sector.
Saleh believes that financial coverage is the biggest way to control government spending because it will lead to a shift from manual payment to electronic payment, as well as knowledge of those who trade cash.
There are 19 public, private and foreign banks involved in the process of settling salaries, and the number of employees in the public sector, who earn about four million and one million employees in the private sector.
“The plan expires in 2020 and about 5 million Iraqis are now between employees and retirees as well as social benefits using the card to get their salaries,” he said.
The public sector employees annually receive more than 35 trillion dinars (27.5 billion dollars), according to a previous statement to the spokesman of the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation Abdul Zahra al-Hindawi.
Ali Tarek: Opening bank accounts for employees this week will begin within the project of localization of salaries
Ali Tariq, executive director of the Association of Private Banks in Iraq, says the work is still underway in the project to settle salaries of employees, which aims to develop the banking sector.
He pointed out that it was agreed with the Ministries of Health and Electricity and will begin opening accounts for employees during the current week, pointing out that the shopping process will be through credit cards without any deduction, and can be used ATMs deployed in the country.
The World Bank is closely monitoring with the federal government in Baghdad the issue of settling salaries because it increases the level of economic activity.
“The project of settling salaries, which was called for by the Council of Ministers and recommended for its implementation, has been taken into account and is of great importance by the Central Bank,” said Doha Abdelkarim, director of payments at the Central Bank.
She pointed out that the Central Bank was the first to implement the project to settle salaries to its employees and the experiment was successful. “The bank has received significant guarantees from the banks to work on the project to settle salaries and any bank will be held accountable for the distribution of salaries of employees.”
The Ministry of Electricity, in a statement recently that the Iraqi Trade Bank of the government will issue “MasterCard” for employees of the ministry free of charge once in the case of opening an account within the bank, and the second time the cost of the issuance of $ 32 in case of loss.
The bank will set up ATMs at the Ministry’s headquarters to pay employees salaries on time when the information is sent to the bank by the ministry. The salary of the employee will be two thousand dinars (less than two dollars), regardless of its value.
She explained that the employee has the right to withdraw his salary from any ATM outside the headquarters of the Ministry and bear the cost of less than 3 dollars, if the bank outside the framework of the Iraqi Trade Bank.