NCC Boss, Stakeholders, Seek Banks, Telcos, Fintechs Partnership For Stronger Payment System

Caption: From left: Head of Corporate Services, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Idris Salihu, Head, Digital Banking, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Okukayode Olubiyi, Director, Communication & Public Affairs, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Bashir A. Nuhu, at the 2023 annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) held in Lagos over the weekend.

The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), on Saturday in Lagos stressed the critical importance of a multidimensional collaboration that would enhance the nation’s payment system.
Speaking 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,” he Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta said the need to strengthen “digital infrastructure for efficient and innovative payment systems in Nigeria is a long-term endeavor that requires collaboration, investment, and adaptability.”
By addressing these strategies comprehensively and proactively, he believes the country can build a robust and inclusive digital payment ecosystem for the benefit of her citizens, while in the process driving economic growth.
Danbatta, who was represented by Engr Anthony Ikemefuna, a Deputy Director at the commission, stressed the need to improve collaborative efforts between the NCC and financial regulators such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to enable proper coordination of policies and regulations related to digital payments and telecommunications.
This, he continued, will ensure that the regulatory environment is conducive for innovation and growth, stressing the need to encourage partnerships between financial institutions, telecom operators, and fintech companies to develop and deliver innovative digital payment solutions.

Caption: National Chairman, Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) Chima Titus Nwokoji, Divisional Head, Securities and and Exchange Commission (SEC)Joy Otubor, Chief Finance Officer Parthian Partners, Yinka Arewa and Head of Operations, PalmPay Limited, Foluso Aduloju at the 2023 annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) held in Lagos over the weekend.

He added that the country needed to leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector to expand and improve digital infrastructure.
Government, he stressed further, can play a pivotal role in promoting digital payments by setting a clear vision and providing support by implementing “e-government initiatives to promote digital payments for public services and benefits distribution.”
He challenged the country’s 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.
Also speaking on the theme of the conference, Head, Digital Banking, United Bank for Africa, Olukayode Olubiyi, said inadequate infrastructure posed one of the greatest dangers to Nigeria’s electronic payment system.
The dearth of operational and telecommunications facilities, as well as the unstable power supply, he lamented, has slowed down the growth of electronic payment in the country.
Olubiyi harped on the need for collaboration among stakeholders such as financial institutions, fintech companies, government entities, and regulatory bodies, since they play a vital 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,” he opined.
Many e-payment systems, he further told the audience, 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.
The challenge of failed transactions in Nigeria’s payment systems, in his opinion, necessitates a collaborative effort among industry stakeholders and the implementation of appropriate policies and regulations.
“An increased collaboration among the central bank, telcos, the commercial banks and FinTechs to expand internet connectivity and seamless electronic transfers across the country.
“A uniformity in banking applications across the industry could significantly reduce the occurrence of failed or delayed payments,” he added.
That, he noted, would require robust technology, stringent security measures, and seamless integration with various payment platforms and financial institutions.

Caption: From left, Idris Salihu, Head of Corporate Services, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Chima Titus Nwokoji, National Chairman, Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria ( FICAN), Olukayode Olubiyi Head, Digital Banking, United Bank for Africa, Bashir A. Nuhu, Director, Communication & Public Affairs Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Bola Enigbokan Divisional Head Enterprise Support, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) and Group Head, Media and External Relations UBA, Nasir Rahman, at the 2023 annual conference of FICAN held in Lagos over the weekend.

“To combat fraud, it is imperative for the government, private sector organisations, and international partners to engage in strong and cohesive collaboration. Sharing intelligence and pooling resources will significantly contribute to the fight against cybercrime.
“Furthermore, this collaboration can extend to investments in cybersecurity infrastructure, including cybersecurity training facilities, incident response centers, and cybersecurity research and development centres,” he reasoned.
Speaking earlier, in his welcome address, Chairman of FICAN, Chima Nwokoji said the challenges witnessed in the country’s payment system during the cash crunch during the last general elections provided a window of opportunity for the banking system to be proactive and inventive.
This, he said, was an opportunity for 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 (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.
He quoted the multilateral as saying, “the lack of adequate digital and financial infrastructure and processes to support a swift transition to a cashless economy— coupled with the fact that only 40 per cent of adults have a bank account—further exacerbated the situation. The cash shortage resulted in a black market for new notes, inflating overall transaction costs.”