CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
As Nigeria continues its journey towards a cash-less society, the World Bank Monday advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others stakeholders on the project to take consumer protection very serious.
Senior Payment System Expert in Payment Systems Development Group, World Bank, Ceu Pereira, made the call while speaking at a two-day conference tagged: ‘Nigeria Transiting to a Cash-less Society: Possibilities and Challenges,’ which commenced in Lagos Monday.
Pereira however expressed satisfaction over the recent creation of a Consumer Protection Department at the CBN. She stressed that the cash-less policy has been a very effective tool used by a lot of countries to foster financial inclusion.
“More and more, central banks need to be interested in consumer protection and competition issues. I am pleased to hear that the CBN recently created a consumer protection department. Consumer protection really needs to be fundamental in Nigeria if you want to make a positive move to cash-less. I will also say that financial education is also very important. The cash-less policy is a very powerful tool to bring millions of people into the financial system,” the World Bank official argued.
Commenting on infrastructure and access interoperability of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)/Point of Sale terminals (PoS) globally, Pereira, in the presentation, pointed out that the overall, slightly more than half of central banks indicated that both ATMs and POS terminals are fully interoperable, while number of central banks indicating full interoperability of ATMs was 57 per cent and higher than for PoS, which was 45 per cent.
She added: “Over 60 per cent of the ATMs worldwide offer at least one non-cash payment service, which contributes to the overall efficiency of the payments system However, the difference between high income and low countries is significant for all ATM services, with the exceptions of cash withdrawals.”
Continuing, she stated: “Limited competition among banking institutions and payment service providers – resulting in higher costs and more limited coverage The specific needs of the government/utilities companies/large commercial firms not being addressed adequately – resulting in a preference for cash and cheques.
“Another relevant point emerging from the analysis is that, notwithstanding some improvement, risk management in cheque system worldwide is still weak.”
Earlier in his remark, the Deputy Director, Banking and Payment System Department, CBN, Dr. Olu Adaramewa, who represented Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said that the apex bank knew that infrastructure was going to be a challenge and has continued to work towards improving on it by collaborating with other stakeholders.
“In fact, only last Friday, the CBN Governor met with the Minister of Communications Technology and other stakeholders, just to further deliberate on the issue of infrastructure. All of these put together will launch Nigeria on the right path in the cash-less policy,” Adaramewa added.