By Obinna Chima
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) havereiterated their commitment to the cashless policy.The policy is expected to be extended to the remaining 30 states from April this year.
Speaking in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) 2016 awards that took place in Lagos at the weekend, the Deputy Governor (Operations), CBN, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, said the central bank was working to ensure that the aim of the cashless policy was realised.Adelabu added: “As we all know that the function of any initiative depends on the amount of preparation that you do before you go into execution level. We have used about six states as pilot states. We have learnt our lessons, we have made mistakes and corrected them and before we move into the other 30 states, all the learning points would be effected. So, we have spent so much time preparing for this and we believe we would not have any challenge when we go nationwide.”
On his part, the Chief Executive of NIBSS, Mr. Ade Shonubi, who pointed out that the role NIBSS in the system has always been that of infrastruture provider, assured Nigerians that his organisation would “make sure that the backbone works, we would try to scale it up so that as the volume grows, there would be no impact. We already have an idea of what is going to happen, so we are already scaling up.”
Shonubi also advised banks and other stakeholders to sensitise members of the public on the initiative.The EPIS ‘Most Customer Experience (Electronic Payment Platform Experience) Award was won by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. Also, Zenith Bank won the ‘Cashless Driver Bulk Payment’ and the ‘Cashless Driver PoS Transaction’ awards, while the ‘Cashless Driver Instant Payment,’ ‘Cashless Driver PoS Issued Cards Transaction,’ and three other awards went to GTBank.
Ikeja Disco won the Cashless Drive Merchant award, Lagos state also won the Cashless Driver Government, while Benin Electricity Disco was rewarded with the Cashless Driver Corporate award. Several other firms were rewarded at the event.
Speaking on the awards, which is in its second year, Adelabu said: “We decided to recognise those operators who have contributed immensely to the efficiency and effectiveness of the payment system in 2016, thereby encouraging them to do more in 2017. I am actually excited about recent developments in the payment system.“We have come a long way and we have grown so fast. Nigeria has been identified as the leader in Africa because of the advancement we have made in the payment system and I foresee faster, more rapid and more efficient payment system in the coming years, given the calibre of operators we have in Nigeria.”
Also, Shonubi said: “Every year we look at the past 12 months and we encourage banks with light competition, where we look at the efficiency and how well they have done in terms of increase in volume and efficiency. We have seen significant improvement in efficiency across most of the platforms. The error rate in PoS transactions which have been a very big problem for us has dropped significantly. The telcos have provided better network services and the banks have improved their system as well.”