The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monday launched the revised Payment System Vision 2020, urging operators to mobilize available technology to take mobile financial services to the grassroots.
Speaking at the International Conference on Payments System in Abuja, CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said the launching the PSV2020 Strategy (Release 2) document was a proactive response to address the identified deficiencies in the nation's financial market infrastructure against the current 24 BIS/IOSCO Principles for Financial Market Infrastructure (PFMI).
Mr. Sanusi said the revised system would also help to achieve a much higher target for compliance than was possible in 2007 given the remarkable strides recorded so far in the implementation of e-payment in the face of constraining challenges.
The CBN governor, who recalled the various initiatives to promote cashless transactions in the economy over the years, particularly since the launching of the PSV2020 in 2007, identified a 7-point strategic areas of focus in the implementation of the PSV2020 Release 2 in order to consolidate the gains recorded in the drive towards higher e-payments compliance level in the country.
Mr. Sanusi said that the CBN would ensure that each payment scheme were defined and the exact point at which payments were deemed to have been 'final and irrevocable' formally documented, while implicit role of 'Lender of Last Resort' for the RTGS payment system would be removed by December 2016 and Deferred Net Settlement system by December 2019.
He said the development of Payment System Vision 2020 document in 2007 provided a focused road map for efficient payments system infrastructure utilised nationally and internationally.
Since inception, Mr. Sanusi said the CBN licensed 18 Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), pointing out that on a monthly basis, transactions worth an average of over N1 billion were currently being done through the mobile platform.
He identified challenges affecting the payments system to include infrastructure deficit (Power, communication network, etc.,); slow adoption of e-payments due to prevailing cash culture; merchant's apathy to point-of-sale (POS) terminals due to transaction fees; high illiteracy level and cost of electronic banking services.
Other challenges include low level of public awareness on the existence of some e-payment products; concentration of e-payment facilities in the urban centre and unavailability of financial services in most rural areas; lack of effective national identification system and absence of e-payment laws or National Payments System Act.
"The application of mobile technology for financial services, especially in rural areas, will ensure that a large percentage of the population outside the formal banking system would have access to financial services," the CBN governor said.
He said that the draft National Payments System Bill, which is undergoing approval process, would remove the legal barriers to electronic payments, while the on-going implementation of biometric solution as part of the requirements for the opening of accounts would address the challenge of unique identifier in Nigeria.
In addition, the adoption of end-to-end electronic payments by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) for the payment of allowances to employee, pensioners and social beneficiaries would boost card payment in Nigeria.
Minister of Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, underlined the importance of effective regulation of the financial system, saying a robust infrastructural system would ensure that voice and data were available to the en-users.
She spoke of continued collaboration with the CBN to ensure not only financial system efficiency, but also financial inclusion that would allow more people to sign on the cashless platform, adding that the ministry has already submitted a draft Nigerian anti-Cyber Crime Bill to the National Assembly.
The law, she said, would impose stiff penalties, including death sentence on perpetrators of fraud using the mobile platform.