The Nigeria Communication Commission, NCC, has stressed the importance of a multidimensional collaboration in enhancing the country’s payment system.
The Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, made this known at the 2023 annual conference of the Finance Correspondent Association of Nigeria, FICAN, with the theme “Strengthening Digital Infrastructure for Efficient Innovative Payment System in Nigeria, held on Saturday in Lagos.
The NCC Vice Chairman , who was represented by a Deputy Director at the commission, Mr Anthony Ikemefuna, noted that Strengthening digital infrastructure for efficient and innovative payment systems in Nigeria is a long-term endeavour that requires collaboration, investment, and adaptability.
Prof Danbatta while supplying strategies for addressing these comprehensively and proactively, noted Nigeria can build a robust and inclusive digital payment ecosystem that benefits its citizens and drives economic growth.”
He stressed the need to improve collaborative efforts between the NCC and financial regulators such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, to enable proper coordination of policies and regulations related to digital payments and telecommunications.
According to Prof Danbatta, this will ensure that the regulatory environment is conducive to innovation and growth.
He further stressed the need to encourage partnerships between financial institutions, telecom operators, and fintech companies to develop and deliver innovative digital payment solutions.
Prof Danbatta added that the country needed to leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector to expand and improve digital infrastructure.
He called on telecom operators to support financial inclusion initiatives by partnering with banks and fintech companies to offer mobile banking and payment services to unbanked and under-banked populations.
Meanwhile, the Head, of Digital Banking, of one of the Commercial Banks, Mr Olukayode Olubiyi, argued that inadequate infrastructure posed one of the greatest challenges to Nigeria’s electronic payment.
He added that dearth of operational and telecommunications facilities, as well as unstable power supply had slowed down the growth of electronic payment in the country.
Mr Olubiyi, harped on the need for collaboration among stakeholders, including financial institutions, fintech companies, government entities, and regulatory bodies, play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of innovative solutions.
“Ultimately, it comes down to policy, regulation, and collaboration. If parties are willing to collaborate, many of the frictions currently experienced in the Nigeria financial service sector can be mitigated,” Olubiyi opined.
Mr Olubiyi mentioned that many e-payment systems depend on stable power sources and robust IT infrastructure, such as laptops, mobile phones, POS terminals, and dependable internet connectivity.
“During the period of cash scarcity earlier this year, banks faced unprecedented e-payment failures, prompting the urgent need for technological infrastructure upgrades,” he noted.According to Olubiyi, the failure of e-payment channels on such a scale compelled customers to wait for banks’ networks to stabilise before completing their transactions”.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of FICAN, Mr. Chima Nwokoji, noted that the challenges witnessed in the country’s payment system during the cash scarcity provided a window of opportunity for the banking system to be proactive and inventive.
According to Mr Nwokoji, this will enable them to reap the benefits provided by electronic payments.
“As banks and fintechs are expanding their financial services portfolios to capture the unbanked and semi-banked, they should not only be expanding their digital infrastructure, but also making it more sophisticated to ensure seamless transaction and safety of funds.
In its ‘Nigeria Development Update in JUNE 2023 the World Bank pointed out that Nigeria’s digital and financial infrastructure is inadequate to support a swift transition to a cashless economy.