Nigeria ranks seven in RTGS transactions
Ghana, Zambia understudy BVN operations
Despite biting economic challenges in the country, SWIFT, the owners of Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), said Nigeria is ranked seventh among its global footprint in transactions.
The RTGS, with other agency collaboration, has emerged the critical infrastructure behind the quick cheque truncations and instant payments across the country.
The company, which disclosed the development at its Business Forum, in Lagos, however noted that only three per cent of the entire African transactions are done in local currency, while the rest is mostly dollar.
Besides, the company harped on the need to interlink African countries’ individual platforms as a way to foster integration and increased transactions within the continent.
But as a way to foster security of the rising transactions in the financial system, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the Bank Verification Number is one of its top strategies.
The Director of Banking and Payment System, CBN, ‘Dipo Fatokun, noted that since the RTGS is account-based, the BVN is now putting real face to parties involved, while reducing risk of identity theft.
Already, the operations of the BVN have tickled Ghana and Zambia, as their officials are currently understudying Nigeria’s version, with the aim of adopting it.
“Under the payment vision 2020, we have actually implemented some reforms. First to be mentioned is the RTGS system. This is one of the systemically important payment infrastructure that we have. It has assisted in conducting bank transfers and settlements, real time.
“The BVN, which was concluded last year has helped a great deal to properly identify bank customers and we are also witnessing drastic reduction of incidence of fraud as a result.
Also at a panel discussion on the “Regionalisation and Trade Corridor Evolution in West Africa,” Fatokun supported the call for strong and reliable payment infrastructure to enhance intra-African trade.
“We must have infrastructure that will connect all the countries so that people can pay seamlessly across different regions of the continent. If all these are taken care of, then enhanced intra-African trade is doable.
“And in pursuing this, the government has the responsibility to create awareness because you can only trade in articles that you need. If citizens are still consumers of foreign products from Europe, America and Asia, then you need to create the necessary market for the African trade.
“So on our own, we need to begin to educate our people so that we can encourage trade among ourselves,” he said.He also called for incentives among countries like tax holidays, market instruments, waivers, among others, adding that to achieve these, the respective central banks and ministries of finance, will play critical role in the process.