The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has called for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders – the government, banks, other financial institutions, and individuals- for the success of its cash-less Nigeria policy.
The regulatory body made this known today on Monday at a conference themed “Nigeria transiting to a cash-less society: Possibilities and Challenges.” The conference was sponsored by the CBN, and other companies.
The Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said at the government, banks and indeed, individuals have a lot to gain from the success of the policy, hence all hands need to be on deck.
Mr. Sanusi, who was represented by Olu Adaramewa, Deputy Director, banking and payments, Central Bank of Nigeria, said “It is true that there would be potentials of resistance, it is the human nature, but we want to engage everyone constructively”
Mr. Adaramewa said the CBN governor, recognising the importance of collaboration, hosted the Minister of Information Technology and Communication, Omobola Johnson, last week, in furtherance of this policy.
“We want to build a strong and formidable force with the banks, telecommunication companies, government, other financial institutions and individuals” he said.
“Most economies are voluntarily transiting to a cash-less one. The government has a lot to gain from cash-less society. Cash is expensive to print, move around and to manage generally,” Mr. Adaramewa said.
The CBN governor’s representative said the banks are open to making more revenue if they manage the implementation well. He said individuals would be better served, as they would have access to their funds even during weekends.
The process takes years
The Senior Payment Systems Expert, Payment Systems Development Group of the World Bank, Ceu Pereira, who gave the Keynote address on ‘Strategic Infrastructural Planning for the Resilience of Electronic and Mobile Payment Systems,” said transiting to a cash-less economy is a process that takes years.
“It is going to take years make a sustainable transition” she said, urging the Central Bank and all stakeholders in the process to “be patient and learn from your mistakes”.
“I feel encouraged by the policy and commitment by the Central Bank. It is a basic requirement that a Central Bank should have leadership, and they have shown that they have leadership and commitment” she added.
Ms. Pereira urged the regulatory body to step up on its enlightenment campaign and education of the citizens.
“Education is really a must. It is not easy for a population that is not used to such new means of payment to embark and change to such. It is essential that there is communication. It is an important element,” she said.
The World Bank official also highlighted the importance of the cost of infrastructure, to process payment in a more efficient way. According to her, in some countries like Portugal, payment systems are so well developed that you can even buy tickets for a show.
“Sometimes, you have to give incentives to people not to use cash. Give people the freedom and allow them to compare the cost of the different payment instruments” she said, urging the Central Bank to make innovative payment products available for people to choose from.
“Technology helps us immensely” she said, while adding that there is still room for improvement in infrastructure and access.
Ms. Pereira pushed for competition between providers, as according to her, if the regulatory body allows for competition and more providers into the market, costs would be low as the competition would beat down costs of implementation and fees.
The event was well attended by financial institution; telecommunication firms; regulatory agencies, such as the Central Bank and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); IT firms; among others.
Participants commended the organisers of the event, acknowledging that such conferences are necessary for enlightenment of all concerned.