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MDAs lack will power to drive technological innovations in Nigeria—First Bank

Head, Digital Banking at First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Adebayo Olarewaju has revealed that leading agencies and regulators in Nigeria’s business space lack clear understanding of regulatory innovations to enable the system align with modern realities in global best practices.

Responding to the issue of substandard policy monitoring and compliance raised at the just concluded DigitaPay conference held in Lagos on the poor quality of electronic cards also known as ATM cards issued to Nigerians by their banks, he said “our regulators does not understand innovation which makes it difficult for them to regulate, this results in the country playing catch-up when other countries have gone far with such technological innovation”.

While acknowledging that Nigerian bank issued electronic cards are not comparable to the ones issued in the western countries, he was quick to add that “it is work in progress and that when banks get their feet in digital banking process quality of cards will improve”.

Olarewaju expressed worries over absence of will power to drive technological innovation by regulators in the country, saying “The way services are rendered to underserve should not be the same way it is done as in normal commercial banking service. As well the way you regulate normal banking should not be the same way you regulate financial inclusion initiative”.

Besides, he noted that regulatory barriers to lending through FinTech companies still remain a serious issue in the nation are banking industry.

Arguments leading to the matter had started when Mr. Julius Nwankwo, compared the cards issued to him by his bank in Netherlands with the one his Nigerian banks issued to him and demonstrated how substandard Nigerian issued cards are.

In his submission, he argued that “my Nigerian bank issued cards don’t last till their expiration date before they change form and are rendered inactive, but this card (he displayed the Netherlands bank issued card) was issued by my bank in Netherlands. I have been using it to travel for a very long time now; it has not changed form and still active.”

He used to conference to call on relevant regulatory agencies to rise up to the challenge so that Nigeria can effectively measure up with peers in business regulatory services and standard operating systems.