Financial Institutions in SI are not essential services: Kuma

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Central Bank of Solomon Islands. Photo by CBSI
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By EDDIE OSIFELO

BANKS including Central Bank are not part of essential services.

Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma explained this in Parliament on Tuesday following point raised those financial institutions to be essential services during pandemic situation.

Kuma said banks including Central Bank play a vital role in a country’s financial exchange system (i.e. payments and receipts).

“They form one of the pillars to the functioning of an economy through facilitation of financial payments and receipts.

“Without this, there will be no movement of goods and services, let alone payments for the salaries/wages of those working staff in the essential services,” he said.

Kuma said in an extended lockdown it simply means that most of these financial transactions will not happen, for example replenishment of ATMs, clearing of cheques, international payments etc.

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He said replenishment of ATMs will require cash from CBSI.

“This also means that the flow of cash may be limited,” he said.

Kuma said the movement of goods and services will only occur if the financial exchange is in place.

He said other jurisdictions, for example New Zealand, regards Financial Institutions as essential services.

“I believe that under the current circumstances the essential nature of FIs services being considered by the government in an emergency lockdown situation.

“In the long run, it will be important to amend the Essential Services Act with the view to include FIs as essential service,” he said.

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