His Excellency Mr. Azzam Shawwa, the Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority, opened workshop on electronic clearance system at Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Chairman of the Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Mohammad Herbawi and members of the Board of Directors and General Assembly and business people attended the workshop. Mrs. Irene Saadeh, the Director of Public Relations and Communication Department, Mr. Ali Far’oun, the Director of Market Conduct Department, Mr. Riyad Awwad, Director of the Payment Systems Department, and Mr. Mohammad Atallah Director of Research and Monetary Policy Department at Palestine Monetary Authority attended the workshop.
Mr. Shawwa expressed in the opening remarks joy over the visit as part of the focus of Palestine Monetary Authority to constantly communicate with institutions and communities across the country. Mr. Shawwa thanked Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industry for hosting the workshop and praised the Chamber’s performance and steady work for furthering businesses, businesspeople, and the Palestinian national economy.
Mr. Shawwa said Hebron was among the economically active districts where clients’ deposits hit $1.2 billion at 10% of overall clients’ deposits at banks, which totaled $12.2 billion at the end of September 2018. The overall direct facilities in Hebron District hit approximately $513 million or 6% of the overall facilities at banks, which totaled approximately $8.3 billion in the same period. The number of bank branches in Hebron district reached 50 at the end of October 2018 or 14% of the 347 bank branches at all districts. The number of lending institutions in Hebron District hit 11% or 9 out of the 81 lending institutions across the country at the end of September 2018. The total of the facilities portfolio of Hebron District registered $20 million or 9% of the overall facilities portfolio across the country, which totaled $215 million at the end of June 2018. The number of authorized money changers in Hebron District totaled 34 or 11% of the 305 authorized money changers across the country, according to Mr. Shawwa.
Mr. Shawwa said that Palestine Monetary Authority had issued special instructions about specific and unified technical and security measures and specifications for designing and printing checks containing 13 security marks. This is among the developments of the functions of Palestine Monetary Authority and part of enhancing the security and technical aspects of the papers used for checks in the Palestinian banking sector. This will have major impact on ending check fraud and the losses caused by fraud in the banking and economy sectors. These instructions meet the basic requirements of the electronic clearance system. There has been a drop in the numbers of checks returned due to insufficient balance by 7% compared to the end of last year and this drop has been the outcome of the restricted measures taken recently by Palestine Monetary Authority, according to Mr. Shawwa.
The Payment Systems Department at Palestine Monetary Authority develops multi systems to shift from cash payments to electronic payments, which is in line with the Palestine Monetary Authority’s strategy to develop the payment systems. The electronic clearance system will be operated on January 1, 2019. The National Switch System will be enhanced and expanded to include sale points across Palestine to enable people to use payment cards without having to resort to cash payments. Work is also underway to introduce payment using mobile phone to enable users to pay and transfer small amounts of money using their mobile phones.
Mr. Mohammad Herbawi praised the work of Palestine Monetary Authority in developing the banking sector and maintaining its stability and soundness of its work and promoting its role in economic development by giving facilities to traders and businesspeople.
Mr. Riyad Awwad, Director of the Payment Systems Department, briefed the workshop about the electronic clearance system, which aimed to reducing the time of collection of checks and going into beneficiaries’ accounts, speed money and cash liquidity turnover in local economy, stop dealing with paper checks at clearance room – this is consistent with global developments – reduce operating risks, ensure security in check collection to end using long periods of check collection and reduce tampering with checks.
The workshop included discussions among participating traders and businesspeople and the delegates of Palestine Monetary Authority accompanying His Excellency the Governor.
Mr. Shawwa also signed a memorandum of understanding with Dr. Imad Khatib, the President of Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron. The MoU signing ceremony was attended by His Excellency Mr. Ahmad Al-Tamimi, member of the Central Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization and head of University Graduates Union and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Palestine Polytechnic University, directors of Palestine Monetary Authority, Mr. Ma’mon Al-Tamimi, member of the Central Council of Palestine Liberation Organization, deputies of the President of the University, Dean of the Faculty of Administrative Science and Information Systems and Faculty staff.
The MoU aims to boost research in finance and financial and banking awareness and related legislations among the students of the Faculty of Administrative Science and Information Systems, exchange of expertise in several areas of common interest, allow the graduates of the Faculty of Administrative Science and Information Systems to train at Palestine Monetary Authority, and exchange of publications.
His Excellency Mr. Shawwa addressed the efforts of Palestine Monetary Authority, during the MoU signing ceremony, to safeguard the banking system and financial stability and enhance financial inclusion in Palestine notwithstanding the difficulties and obstacles. Mr. Shawwa also pointed out to the strong indicators of the Palestinian banking sector and contributions to economic and social development.
Mr. Shawwa praised the cooperation between Palestine Monetary Authority and universities through signing memoranda of understanding. Mr. Shawwa asserted that the banking system was mindful of serving research in Palestine and studies that enhanced awareness of finance and banking and related legislations among students.
Mr. Ahmad Al-Tamimi welcomed people attending the MoU signing ceremony and praised the distinctive efforts of Palestine Monetary Authority in serving the Palestinian economy. Mr. Al-Tamimi briefed people about the University Graduates Union and Palestine Polytechnic University, which graduated highly qualified students to serve the Palestinian community, and focused on joint cooperation with Palestinian, regional, and international agencies to enhance qualification of students to meet the needs of the Palestinian labor market.
Dr. Imad Khatib praised the eminent role of Palestine Monetary Authority in developing the Palestinian banking sector and being involved in corporate social responsibility and serving the community and students. The signing of the MoU is part of Palestine Polytechnic University’s interest in developing education and promoting innovation as well as ensuring a mission of full integration and distinction in programs and activities, according to Dr. Khatib.