The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) is supportive of local e-commerce providers and plays its part well in the drive for MSME access to cashless payment options, but some policies and guidelines may be in need of review as the market develops and the business environment continues to grow and change.
This was the opinion expressed by Sole Fintech chief executive officer Mereia Volavola during a public private dialogue webinar focused on challenges faced by MSMEs yesterday.
A locally-owned e-commerce platform, Sole is one of a few to attempt to bring financial inclusivity to small business owners.
Mastercard director Pacific Islands Craig Kirkland, also in attendance and a speaker during the webinar, cited a study from 2019 that found unmet spending opportunities in cruise tourism in Fiji because of a lack of cashless payment options for small businesses.
The cited study on the economic impact of cruise tourism in Fiji, commissioned by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, the Australian Government and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) was led by Kantar TNS Australia and found that opportunities existed to increase spend with 24 per cent of cruise ship passengers reporting they did not spend at all while in port and 47 per cent citing that unmet spending opportunities exist.
A clear need for cashless transaction options for small businesses and market vendors prompts the question of what holds businesses back from accessing cashless options.
Mr Kirkland spoke of electronic banking set up fees possibly being too exorbitant for many small businesses and is reportedly in talks with a major banking institution about possible solutions.
Mastercard and Fintech Pacific’s digital payment platform Dua Pay is currently in the pilot stage and according to Mr Kirkland a training component to the initiative will be launched this year in the hopes of bridging the e-commerce access gap.