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Cashless Nigeria @ 2: Stakeholders chart areas of focus

By Chike Onwuegbuchi
08 July 2016   |   1:19 am
“It is difficult to assess at present, the other key objective, namely, the contribution of the cashless policy to the achievement of the Nigerian Vision 2020.

ONLINE-BANKING

Stakeholders in the electronic payment space have commended the success so far recorded in the cashless Nigeria initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which clocks two years this July, even as they chart areas the regulator should focus in order to achieve its objectives.

Tunde Ogungbade, managing director, Global Accelerex, said that the cashless initiative has been successful largely for the formal economy.

“It is difficult to assess at present, the other key objective, namely, the contribution of the cashless policy to the achievement of the Nigerian Vision 2020.

I would, however, state that for there to be a measureable contribution to the Vision 2020, the cashless policy must succeed in moving at least 50% of the currently estimated informal economy into the formal sector by year 2020.

“CBN must primarily continue to campaign and bring awareness of the cashless initiative and its benefits to grassroots, especially in the hinterlands where low PoS adoption and usage currently prevails.

CBN must also continue its confidence message of monitoring and management of transaction security and integrity through the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum managed by its banking and payment system department. The NEFF programme is viewed by millions of Nigeria on national television and serves as a way to demonstrate CBN’s commitment to the safety, security and the integrity of the payment system.

“CBN can also consider PoS asset financing options for micro-merchant acquisition in partnership with Microfinance Banks, who unlike Deposit Money Banks cannot afford large PoS Capex for artisans in industries currently unattractive for DMB merchant acquirers.

Emmanuel Okoegwale, Principal Associate, Mobilemoney Africa, stated that one significant way to measure the successes of the cashless Nigeria project is to look at how technology has made services to be progressively more accessible and affordable across the urban and rural areas of Nigeria.

“Lots of progress had been made to date. However, we are still far away from democratization and commoditization of basic financial services which will further reduce the distance barrier, coverage and access challenge that is prevalent in the market space in Nigeria.

Mobile financial services that should serve as the basis and entry point to formal financial services space is yet to gain much ground and acceptance across the nation, agency banking is still largely at experimental stages with most large commercial banks while the micro finance entities lack the resources to even make an effort to deploy a decent and sustainable agency network to serve the market.