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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele at the recent First Bank of Nigeria’s 125 years anniversary gala night dinner, raised hopes of continuing the halted nationwide cashless policy.
Recall that the apex bank had in April 2017, suspended the nationwide implementation of the policy based on discoveries that digital banking structures in many parts of the country are inadequate.
Emefiele argued that his predecessor, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, had introduced the policy, but the CBN under his leadership was not convinced on the structural capacities in terms of digital infrastructures, rate of financial inclusion and penetration in the country
Explaining more, he made it clear that “We had to wait a while because we felt that there was need to be sure that the rate of financial inclusion in Nigeria has effectively penetrated all the nooks and crannies of the country for us to be able to say yes, it is time to really proceed on cashless banking.
However, having seen reasonable investments in digital infrastructures by banks and jumping internet access nationwide, Emefiele averred that “I want to use this opportunity to say that very soon, all the structures that have been put in place would improve banking services and cashless policy in Nigeria.”
According to him, the CBN believes that collaborative efforts by non-finance entities and banks would be critical in building a robust financial system that has a wider reach and enables better integration across different payment gateways in a reliable and secure and convenient manner.
While noting that one key area that would affect the growth of the banking system was ensuring that majority of Nigerians have verifiable means of identification such as Biometric Verification Number (BVN) or national identity, he disclosed that “We have adopted a risk-based supervisory framework for payment system and payment service providers.”
“The risk-based approach ensures proper designation of payment systems in the country based on systemic importance and ensures that accessing such payment at primary and secondary levels are premised on clear access criteria, notwithstanding concerns on the rise of fintechs, and the use of crypto currencies; currently usage stands at total asset base of the banking industry.
“It is indeed safe to say that banks will continue to remain important players in the financial system in the future and the critical role of warehousing funds and the provision of loans will still require the use of banks.
“Rapidly changing technology is providing historic opportunity to transform our daily lives from the way payments are made to shaping the customer’s ability to access credit from financial institutions.
“At the CBN, we have implemented several measures that we think will help to support the growth of the banking system in the future. This will be achieved by improving financial inclusion rate, supporting innovation, and ensuring that unserved Nigerians are able to obtain verifiable BVN, while addressing safety concerns.
“These measures will ensure that we have a faster and safer convenient system for eligible banking customers and we believe that if achieved, we can be sure that the growth of the banking industry will be formidable, supported by banks and fintechs meet the evolving needs of majority of Nigerians,” CBN Governor revealed.
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