File photo: Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning. Photo by Sureash Cholai
MINISTER in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning said the Bills of Exchange Bill 2022 will allow cheques to be cleared by banks in two days instead of the current six days, as he piloted the bill in the Senate on Tuesday.
He said one-fifth of payments made by micro and small businesses were done by way of physical cheque, but these have been subject to an anachronistic system of clearance.
Manning said the country’s private banks want an electronic clearing system for cheques.
He promised more consultations on safeguards for electronic banking.
Otherwise, Manning said countries that have passed legislation similar to the bill included Grenada, Canada and the United Kingdom.
As one safeguard, he said in any suspected case of fraud, the paying bank will be able to request the original paper cheque (for which an electronic cheque was subsequently made.)
Manning said the bill will help citizens living in areas lacking banks and individuals with mobility challenges.
He said the parent bill was first passed in 1884.
“Although the Bills of Exchange Act has been amended on several occasions, it is advised that the law as relating to cheques has evolved dramatically over the last century and as such, a comprehensive review of the law relating to cheques ought to be undertaken.”