Commonwealth Meridian is a cutting-edge public debt management system, an indispensable tool for debt managers and policymakers. In this blog, the Commonwealth’s Debt Management Unit outlines how the new system is helping Eswatini to manage its public debt effectively.
Blog by Amit Mishra, Microsoft Programmer, Debt Management Unit, Commonwealth Secretariat
Eswatini, like many other developing countries, is facing macroeconomic and debt pressures that often deplete budgetary resources and pull public officials away from service delivery, to crisis response.
Against this backdrop, Commonwealth Meridian, a new debt management software, has brought much-needed relief to Eswatini’s public debt management efforts.
The new software, which replaced the Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), has been producing impactful results since its launch in 2019.
Meridian is currently being used by 28 countries. An additional 14 countries have requested the Commonwealth Secretariat to help them migrate their debt records to the new system. Among those countries is Eswatini.
Working with Eswatini’s Central Bank, the Commonwealth has been training the country’s senior debt officials on how to deploy, use and maintain the new software.
Andreas Themba Dlamini, a Public Finance Economist at the Central Bank of Eswatini, who benefited from the Commonwealth Secretariat’s training sessions, recently shared his thoughts on the positive impact of the system on the bank’s work.
According to Dlamini, Commonwealth Meridian’s data validation checks help to bring more understanding of how various creditors generate and treat debt service payments and billing practices, contributing to the accuracy of data being maintained in the system.
He adds that the system has improved reporting for the Central Bank of Eswatini by allowing for recording a wider variety of instruments, such as overdrafts.
The real-time dashboard widgets that the system provides, including benchmark analysis, stock charting tools, payments due alerts, and instruments maturing within a period, have been offering Eswatini instant reports and analyses for both business and management purposes.
All data is instantly visible to debt officials, making it essential for the provision of timely and transparent data reports to donors, as well as internally to guarantee appropriate policy and programmatic responses for the Government of Eswatini.
Eswatini’s Ministry of Finance uses Commonwealth Meridian daily and has heaped praise on the robustness, comprehensiveness, and user-friendliness of the system.
In fact, the system was appreciated during national exercises such as the development of the country’s Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) – a World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) framework.
The World Bank has also praised Eswatini’s Central Bank for its timely submission of high-quality data, which was produced using Meridian. The organisation went on to emphasise the need for technology-driven solutions like Meridian to help address debt management needs of developing countries.
Speaking to the Commonwealth Secretariat about the benefit of the new system, Andreas Themba Dlamini said:
“As a country, the efforts we put in having complete and good quality data have even led us to do away with the so-called Excel-based spreadsheets. We now use Commonwealth Meridian 100 per cent and have so much comfort and confidence in the results we are getting.”
The positive impact of Commonwealth Meridian on Eswatini’s public debt management is clear, making it an indispensable tool for finance ministries and central banks around the world to proactively manage their public debt portfolios, with its real-time dashboard widgets and user-friendly interface.
By efficiently managing their debts using Meridian, countries can maintain financial stability and sustainable fiscal policy, ultimately supporting their wider efforts to achieve development objectives and improve the standard of living for their citizens.
- Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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