By Desie Heita
The local clearinghouse, Namclear, is focusing on the incorporation of ATM card processing into the Namibian system. This follows the smooth incorporation of electronic fund transfers and the clearing of all Namibian cheques.
Commercial banks in Namibia established Namclear with the purpose of managing and controlling domestic exposure and risk in the Namibian financial sector. This follows a voluntary commitment in 2001 by commercial banks to have a National Payment System Reform.
Namclear was to be established two years later, in 2003, and immediately started with the high priority task of disconnecting the inter bank transaction of Namibia from South Africa.
One of the key objectives for setting up a local clearing system was to provide same-day clearing and settlement of all paper-based items that reach Namclear and thus reduce or eliminate holdovers and the associated costs.
The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Paul Hartmann, officially launched Namclear last week.
“The National Payment System Reform project is being driven by the entire banking industry and led by the Bank of Namibia as overseer of payment systems. The Bank of Namibia and the Bankers Association of Namibia have agreed that the bank would spearhead the settlement leg of the project, while banking institutions would assume responsibility for seeking appropriate solutions for local payment and clearing arrangements,” said Hartmann at the official launch.
“This solution further adds value to customers by reducing the period of uncleared effects and also improves control over cheques processed in remote areas through the code line clearing mechanism,” said Hartmann.
Localising the banking operations has also led to the establishment of the Payment Association of Namibia, in 2006, with separate sub-committees for each payment stream.
The president of the Bankers Association of Namibia and Managing Director of Bank Windhoek, James Hill, said the solutions offered by Namclear are on par with standards found in Africa.
“The Bankers Association of Namibia is proud of its local Namibian team of experts that is on par with those of other players in the region and that played an active and leading role in the establishment of the Namibian National Payment System. The establishment of Namclear presented a unique opportunity for the Namibian banking industry to create a payments architecture aimed at the future, a future where commerce will require real-time payment mechanisms that give immediate va-lue to the beneficiary,” said Hill.