Debt managers from across the Commonwealth are currently in Pune, India, testing Meridian, the new debt management tool from the Secretariat.
Mac Banda, acting adviser and IT team leader of the Debt Management Unit, described the user acceptance testing (UAT) workshop as an ideal opportunity for member countries to assess and ensure that Meridian is fit for purpose.
Meridian has been developed to cater for the transformation of the public debt arena in recent years, and to take advantage of significant advancements in technology. The new system will facilitate the strong emphasis that is placed on a country’s debt management strategy, as well as the growing importance of the management of contingent liabilities (fiscal risks due to uncertain financial commitment), reporting standards and the need for improved transparency.
Eighteen debt managers from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cyprus, Jamaica, India, Kenya, Trinidad & Tobago, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and South Africa are taking part in the workshop.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has partnered with India-based software development company Infosys Ltd to develop Meridian. This will replace the current debt management system CS-DRM, which has been available for the past decade and is used in more than 60 countries - both Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries alike.
Development of Meridian began in 2015 and is nearing the final testing phase, ahead of a pilot early next year.
Ms Antonino Inniss, a Debt Manager from Barbados, said Meridian was essentially a system with increased flexibility and an ‘essential tool for managing sovereign debt’.
Meridian is scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2018 to all member countries and will cater for both SQL and Oracle sites. Full specification is available on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Commonwealth Secretariat will be providing a migration tool to assist countries to move seamlessly from CS-DRMS to Meridian and will continue to support CS-DRMS for a limited number of years after Meridian has been fully released.