“Electronic payment”… a nightmare that haunts a segment of workers in Iraq

“Electronic payment”… a nightmare that haunts a segment of workers in Iraq

2024-02-22 01:33

Electronic payment... a nightmare that haunts a segment of workers in IraqShafaq News/ With hatred and anxiety, “Al-Bozrji” Muhammad Ali (33 years old) looks at the electronic payment device that was placed next to him, due to which the amount of tips he receives has decreased, and perhaps he may also lose his job in light of the increase in citizens’ acquisition of (Visa Card) cards. In order to refuel.

The Iraqi government seeks to activate the electronic payment service, adopt modern automation systems, and end cash dealing.

Accordingly, the Petroleum Products Distribution Company, affiliated with the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, has set the end of next March as a deadline for cash transactions at government and private fuel filling stations.

The Petroleum Products Distribution Company announced, the day before yesterday, Tuesday, that it had conducted an experiment at the Al-Muthanna station to end human intervention in the processing process, as the quantity is entered into the POS machine and then the quantity is transferred from the electronic payment card.

The company’s general manager, Hussein Taleb, explained in a statement, “The companies have worked to connect the fuel dispenser to the POS payment device, and thus the citizen will be able to enter quantities of fuel and pay money without the need for human intervention.”

The nightmare of unemployment haunts “Bozerji”

Returning to the worker “Ali,” who has been working at a private gas station in Baghdad for 9 years, he told Shafaq News Agency, “I spend most of my time from the beginning of the day to the end standing near this box called (the cabin) to receive whoever wants to refuel, and to give me some.” Tipping for each supply, but because of electronic payment devices, tipping has begun to decrease.”

Ali, who considers electronic payment systems a threat to his livelihood, continues, “The situation does not bode well, especially for workers in private gas stations, as their owners are talking about the possibility of reducing the number of workers, which will cause an increase in unemployment in light of the lack of appointments and the lack of job opportunities in other sectors.” “.

Electronic payment features

Electronic payment is a system for making or settling payments without the need to use cash. This system has many advantages, the most important of which is eliminating corruption, fraud, and direct bribery in government institutions, ease of trading, raising cash deposit rates in banks and banks, and other benefits.

But Iraq’s transition to this globally applicable system is not without fraud, whether by merchants when citizens shop, or by collecting additional amounts under the pretext of the withholding fees currently in effect, especially since society’s culture of electronic payment is weak.

Therefore, it is necessary to educate society on trading in it, and to facilitate the opening of bank credits for citizens for the purpose of issuing electronic cards smoothly and without obstacles, according to what a number of experts in the Iraqi economy spoke to Shafaq News Agency.

In this context, oil expert, Kovind Sherwani, says, “The system of paying and paying bills by electronic card represents a modern method for financial transactions, and is characterized by speed of completion and accuracy in conducting transactions. It also reduces dependence on cash liquidity in transactions, which is usually susceptible to damage and therefore requires “Compensation.”

Sherwani added to Shafaq News Agency, “As for dealing with cards, it reduces dependence on currency, whether paper or cash, thus reducing damage and saving the state other amounts. The payment system also represents a safe way to complete financial transactions instead of carrying large sums of money in the wallet.” It may be vulnerable to loss or theft.

But the problems that hinder the implementation of this system in Iraq, according to Sherwani, may be “the lack of familiarity of the common citizen, especially those with limited education, or those with self-employed and earning jobs, as well as the fees that are collected from every sale or purchase with these cards.”

He calls for “the commission to be low to be an incentive for the citizen to adopt the cards and not be an obstructing factor for him, because adopting the card is a preliminary step toward electronic banking without the need to visit the bank and deal paper-wise with currencies, whether withdrawing or depositing.”

He continues, “Therefore, getting used to these cards will be a paving step for the citizen who is not accustomed to checking with banks to get used to opening credits and accounts, completing commercial transactions, etc., and even salaries, as found in the smart card and Key Card, are transferred electronically to the accounts, and the employee or retiree is able to receive his salary from any A key card point or agency anywhere in Iraq.

He points out that “employees are accustomed to this system, but non-employees who are self-employed and gainful employees may find this matter new to them, but with the passage of time they will realize the benefits that electronic payment brings.”

For his part, MP Kazem Jarro, a member of the Oil and Gas Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, says, “In most government and private gas stations, the worker takes an additional amount for himself, so electronic payment will end this matter.”

The representative continued to Shafaq News Agency, “Putting money in the MasterCard will transfer money from the citizen’s wallet to the state’s balance, so electronic payment has many benefits and will reduce corruption.”

Regarding the fate of workers in the stations, he confirms that “these will continue working and will not be affected. Their numbers in the sales department may be reduced to provide payment devices that carry out their tasks, and the surplus will be distributed to the departments of the Petroleum Products Distribution Company, so the payment devices will not cause unemployment, but the workers may be affected by them.” In private stations, as a result of the availability of devices that perform their role, their numbers may be reduced.”

In turn, the Vice President of the Union of Bottling Factories and Gas Services, Abbas Mahyoub, points out that “most citizens do not have a Visa card, and according to my field of work, a problem may occur in the process of selling gas, as the gas agent who roams within the cities to sell gas to citizens, finds that Most families do not have electronic payment cards.”

Mahyoub added to Shafaq News Agency, “Although the Visa card is available, there is a commission when loading and withdrawing it, so this is a loss for the user, and although the issue has many benefits, this commission may lead to an increase in prices to cover these commissions.”

On January 7, the Prime Minister, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, directed that citizens be spared additional financial burdens resulting from commissions, during a meeting devoted to following up on the financial and economic transition to electronic payment, points of sale, and financial trading with electronic cards (POS).

Al-Sudani confirmed, according to a statement issued by his media office, that the goal is to facilitate dealing and facilitate payment in all fields, while ensuring the highest levels of security.

Demands the provision of POS devices in public places

Most markets and fuel filling stations lack POS devices, despite the Council of Ministers’ directives to implement the electronic payment system in state institutions, the private sector, commercial centers, stores, markets, and other entertainment facilities.

Citizens still lack the provision of POS devices, and there are demands from the Central Bank, banks, and electronic payment companies to provide POS points of sale and make them accessible to citizens for use with electronic cards in shopping and paying instead of cash.

The Central Bank of Iraq announced, at the beginning of last June, that Cabinet Resolution No. (23044) for the year 2023 had entered into force, which was to increase the number of electronic payment devices (POS) in government institutions and the private sector to enhance the culture of electronic payment and collection, and reduce the use of paper money in Collection and commercial transactions.

It is noteworthy that the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Iraq decided, on December 13, to establish the “National Company for Electronic Payment Systems” throughout the country, indicating that the company represents a qualitative development in the structure of the country’s financial infrastructure.

According to the Iraqi Central Bank statement, this step coincides with the rapid growth in electronic financial services and products and the rise in the number of users in accordance with the framework of the government program to support and adopt advanced electronic payment systems.

In turn, the Iraqi Private Banks Association revealed, on December 12, a growth in accounts, bank cards and electronic payment devices after the great support provided by Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani and the Central Bank of Iraq to the banking sector, through activating electronic payment in government and private institutions and reform in Foreign trade financing mechanisms.

The association’s executive director, Ali Tariq, said in a press statement that bank accounts grew by 14%, reaching 10.02 million bank accounts by September 30, 2023, after at the end of 2022 there were more than 8.79 million accounts, which means the creation of more than 1.2 million. Account within 9 months.