Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, says digital currency will be a game-changer for Jamaica, as it will afford greater inclusion of persons in the financial system by providing an alternative payment method.
He was addressing the Jamaica Customer Service Association (JCSA) Leadership Forum and Service Excellence Webinar held earlier this month.
Dr Clarke said that one of the major issues coming out of the experience of the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme was the number of persons who did not have functional bank accounts in Jamaica.
“That’s a big problem. In the CARE Programme, we had over 150,000 Jamaicans who were in need and who did not have a functional bank account. When people don’t have access to bank accounts it means that they are not participating in a fulsome way in the economy,” he noted.
He argued that conducting cash-only transactions leads to inefficiencies and limits growth and productivity.
“We see that our productivity as a society, and hence our growth potential, is inextricably linked with the ability of all Jamaicans to access financial services and to be a part of the financial system. [Therefore] we are going to be supporting the Central Bank in the launch of a digital currency, which is going to be a game-changer for Jamaica,” he said.
Dr Clarke explained that digital currency affords persons the convenience of having their money on a phone or other device.
“What it will mean is that everybody will be able to pay without having the cash stored in their pocket, which will mean that more persons will be included in the financial system. It will increase the productivity of that individual multiple fold,” he noted
He said that the Government intends to launch digital currency as a fully operational payment methodology next year.