Opening Remarks of the Executive Governor Central Bank of Liberia The Financial Sector Super Data Highway (FiSSDaH) MOU Signing Ceremony June 25, 2019
Hon. Minister of Finance and Development Planning;
Heads of Other Government Functionaries Present;
Heads of Financial Institutions;
Acting Deputy Governor for Operations / CBL;
Senior Staff of the CBL Present;
Members of the Fourth Estate;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
Let me begin by extending a warm welcome to all of you to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and commending the technical teams at our various institutions for making today’s signing ceremony possible.
The modernization of the Payment System in Liberia under the auspices of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), and the Central Bank of Liberia, 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 required 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.
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.
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.
Therefore, today marks another milestone in the modernization of our infrastructure where the Entities, CBL and LIBTELCO will all be benefactors and contributors to the FiSSDaH solution. An integral part of digitization of our sector begins with the ability to be able to connect all systems no matter how dispersed and distant. This 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.
In conclusion, let me take this time to say a special thank you to all of you, our partners in endorsing this 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. 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!
I thank you…………