Nigeria is set for a comprehensive review of electronic payment guidelines within the country following the early successes recorded in the promotion of e-payment initiatives such as the cashless policy.

This was disclosed during the 2014 annual retreat of the Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads (CeBIH) by a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Suleiman Barau in his keynote address titled; “Payments System Vision 2020: Creating Enabling Environments Through Regulatory Framework.”

He added that the apex bank will further push for acceptance, increased adoption and usage of the payments system.

“Therefore, the Payments System Vision 2020 outlined a number of initiatives to catalyze the adoption of electronic payments system in certain sectors including, agriculture, transportation, hotels and entertainment, education, health, smart cities, bill payment and government flows,” he said.

“The bank has committed to reviewing the following regulations- Mobile Payments Regulatory Framework, the exposure draft of which was communicated to you about two weeks ago; guidelines on stored value and prepaid cards issued during the course of the year as Guidelines for Card Issuance and Usage in Nigeria; and Guidelines for Point-of-Sales (PoS) Card Acceptance Services.

Globally, the way goods and services are paid for has evolved tremendously from the era of shells to paper, and now “data money” is fast becoming the norm. Payments is to every economy what blood is to every human circulatory system, and the further adoption of e-Payments in emerging economies like Nigeria will translate into further cost savings, increased economic activity and capital accumulation. A cross-sectional analysis of 50 countries suggests that consumer spending increases by 0.5 percent for every 10 percent increase in the share of e-payments in a country.

Electronic payments is a lower cost, higher value approach that is transforming consumer behavior worldwide, and Nigeria, which has seen some success in this regard, should take more steps to further digitize its economy and lead the rest of Africa on an upward trajectory to optimal “cashlessness.”

This was the exact thought of the Chairman of the CeBIH, Mr Tunde Kuponiyi, when he said; “The payment system today is vibrant, robust and technologically superior with multiple payment instruments, multiple access points and delivery channels to choose from. However, the benefit of modern payment system is yet to fully percolate to all segments of the society.”

“As a result, a substantial portion of the population is still outside the realm of the formal and modern payment system. Thus the stage is set for all of us especially the banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria along with other stakeholders in the industry to collaborate with each other in a co-operative effort to expand the reach of banking sector and modern payment systems by making all efforts towards the realization of the PSV 2020 20,” he concluded.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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