- New ICTA management trying to grasp the agency’s mandate
- ICTA CEO says will find way forward to get project going again
- NPP project was suspended in August last year, amid several controversies
By Nishel Fernando
The new administration of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), along with Central Bank and LankaClear, the operator of LankaPay, has launched a fresh attempt to revive the suspended National Payment Platform (NPP) project.
Speaking to Mirror Business, ICTA CEO Damith Hettihewa revealed that following board level discussions, the ICTA recommenced the dialogue with the Central Bank and LankaClear on June 8.
“We are trying to understand the mandate of each entity – the ICTA’s as well as LankaClear’s mandate – within the legal provisions. Hence, we are collaborating to find out the best way forward on how to proceed with the project in a collaborative manner within the legal mandate and framework available,” he said.
While noting that the ICTA already had a successful round of negotiations with the two stakeholders, Hettihewa said they will have to hold several rounds of negotiations to reach any conclusions.
“But we are very positive we can find a way forward and get the project going again.”
Acknowledging that the NPP is a crucial national need, which has to be implemented, Hettihewa said without fully grasping the mandate of the ICTA, the agency is not in a position to go ahead with the project.
However, he reiterated that the new board of directors as well as the new management is keen to move ahead with the project.
“We have a strong interest in the project. However, we will have to work under the Central Bank guidelines as it is governed by the Monetary Board,” he added.
The NPP project was suspended in August last year, amid several controversies, including the setting up of a hybrid company by the then management of the ICTA and the exclusion of the Central Bank as the regulatory authority of the payment system.
Hettihewa noted that the new management of the ICTA is still studying the progress made by the previous ICTA management in implementing the project, including the financials.
Hettihewa was appointed as the new ICTA CEO this May, following the appointment of a new board of directors chaired by Professor Rohan Samarajiva, in April.
Speaking to Mirror Business, Professor Samarajiva also confirmed that fresh talks have begun with the Central Bank and LankaClear to implement the project.
National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva recently assured that the new attempt to revive the project would be within the regulations of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act No 28 of 2005 and in line with the requirements of the Central Bank.
The NPP remains crucial for Sri Lanka’s growing e-commerce sector as such could facilitate digital payments, payment gateways of banks and digital payment applications.