Brunei, Laos Join ASEAN Regional Payment Connectivity Initiative

The Brunei Darussalam Central Bank (BDCB) and the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL) have officially joined the Regional Payment Connectivity (RPC), marking a significant milestone in ASEAN’s financial integration efforts, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced.

The BDCB’s accession to the RPC was formalized with the signing of the second supplemental pages of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in Regional Payment Connectivity on February 29, 2024. Shortly after, the BOL signed the third supplemental pages of the MOU RPC on April 3, 2024, during the 11th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting held in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.

With the inclusion of these two central banks, the RPC initiative now encompasses a total of eight ASEAN member states. Initially pioneered by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in late 2022 and subsequently joined by Vietnam in August 2023, the initiative aims to extend its reach to other ASEAN countries and potentially beyond.

The RPC initiative focuses on fostering faster, cheaper, more transparent, and inclusive cross-border payment systems. It aims to bolster the region’s economic activities by providing enhanced payment connectivity, benefiting small and medium-sized enterprises with access to the international market, facilitating trade, and easing worker remittance transactions.

Hajah Rokiah binti Haji Badar, Managing Director of BDCB, expressed satisfaction with Brunei Darussalam’s participation in the MOU RPC, highlighting the potential benefits in advancing cross-border payment connectivity and fostering closer collaboration among ASEAN central banks.

Echoing similar sentiments, Bounleua Xinxayvoravong, the Governor of BOL, emphasized the significance of the initiative in promoting regional cooperation. “Faster and cheaper financial transactions, along with a secure and seamless payment system infrastructure, are critical for the expansion and sustainability of our economy,” said Xinxayvoravong.

The RPC initiative’s continued expansion demonstrates ASEAN’s commitment to enhancing financial integration and cooperation, paving the way for a more connected and economically robust region.

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