Central Bank of Liberia, Actors in Financial Sector Sign Financial Sector Super Data Highway Agreement

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MONROVIA – The Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Mr. Nathaniel R. Patray, III, has described the Financial Sector Super Data Highway (FiSSDaH) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 as another milestone in the modernization of Liberia’s infrastructure where the entities, CBL and LIBTELCO will all be benefactors and contributors to the FiSSDaH solution. 

In his opening statement at the signing ceremony of the MoU held at the CBL, Governor Patray, said: “an integral part of the digitization of our sector begins with the ability to be able to connect all systems no matter how dispersed and distant.”

According to him, FiSSDaH implementation negates the challenge of no connectivity. 

 “Put another way, what is being inaugurated today would help us address the system down syndrome which has placed a dent on the delivery of digital services in the country,” he stated. 

The CBL Boss, who began by extending a warm welcome to all to the CBL, commended the technical teams at  the various institutions for making  the signing ceremony possible.

He  thanked the partners in endorsing the  MOU for connecting the sector, which lays the foundation for a secure, robust, and accessible interoperable infrastructure.

“I ask each of us to take seriously our responsibilities in this MOU as stakeholders and deliver adequate banking and other financial services to the people of Liberia,” he said. 

Governor Patray recalled that the modernization of the Payment System in Liberia under the auspices of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), and the CBL, with grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB), saw the emergence and deployment of a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) with the use of point-to-point radio links technology.

This technology, Governor Patray pointed out, requires the building or construction of Antennas atop buildings including the CBL headquarters and its Disaster Recovery Site, and head offices of Commercial Banks.

 “This radio link technology original capacity was 2 Megabytes which was lately increased to a 6 Megabyte bandwidth upon the last contract signing with the solution provider. This increase in bandwidth capacity was due to the additional services deployed and configured on the network. Some of these services are VRegcoss, the reporting application used by all commercial banks to submit returns to the CBL, and the National Electronic Payment Switch to name a few. These critical services had to leverage this already deprecated platform since it was the only medium available at the time. The radio links network predates the fiber that we are now migrating to and had a huge maintenance 

Cost,” Patray stated.

 “The cost of this service, which is over half a million United States Dollars, has been the sole responsibility of the Central Bank since 2015, post implementation. This cost includes maintenance, licenses, radios replacement, mast realignment, consultancy amongst others,” Patray continued.

The Financial Sector Super Data Highway (FiSSDaH) project, which replaces the deprecated Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) infrastructure, will now be provisioned on a One Gigabyte capacity network, throughout the sector, and seeks to deliver to the sector a more robust, resilient, secure, accessible and available medium through which data involving financial transactions are traversed to meet the interoperability and connectivity requirements of the financial sector ecosystem.  

 “As stakeholders of the ecosystem which includes the Commercial Banks, non-bank Financial Institutions, The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Commercial Telecommunications Operators and Mobile Money Operators, and The Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO), we must all now contribute our fair share to leverage the infrastructure and all its benefits. The CBL had agreed with the implementing partners of the modernization of the payment system that after about Three (3) years, the sector should be apt enough to shoulder some of the cost of the infrastructure, especially on components that provide integration and interoperability.” 

The FiSSDaH will have as its backbone, the fiber optics network (Dark Fiber), a service maintained and operated by LIBTELCO, as the primary channel of connectivity for the Metropolitan Area Network. It replaces the current wireless infrastructure which shall be retained as a backup infrastructure for the MAN. As is common knowledge, the radio link infrastructure is susceptible to the elements, noise or attenuation and adverse weather conditions. 

In the FiSSDaH advent, the CBL will serve as a liaison between the Entities for facilitating data and financial transactions communications amongst themselves and other beneficiaries and will no longer own the infrastructure as it has been in the past. 

Meanwhile, the signing of the MoU ceremony was attended by several heads of government functionaries, heads of financial institutions, among others. 

In separate remarks, they commended the CBL for the signing of the FiSSDah  and pledged their institutions’ unflinching support for success of the project.    

This is another great day in the sector as we seek to achieve the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. Collectively we can lift our people out of Poverty.

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