• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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NCC, UBA, others seek collaboration to strengthen payment system

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The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), United Bank for Africa (UBA) and other financial institutions have called for a multidimensional collaboration in enhancing the country’s payment system.

Other institutions include Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, Parthian Partners Limited, and Palmpay.

Umar Danbatta, vice chairman of NCC, said “strengthening digital infrastructure for efficient and innovative payment systems in Nigeria is a long-term endeavor that requires collaboration, investment, and adaptability.”

He spoke at the 2023 annual conference of the Finance Correspondent Association of Nigeria with the theme ‘strengthening digital infrastructure for efficient innovative payment system in Nigeria’, held at the weekend in Lagos.

The NCC boss, who was represented by a deputy director at the commission, Anthony Ikemefuna, said: “By addressing these strategies comprehensively and proactively, 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.

Read also: NCC, others seek domestication of data policy to boost digital economy

According to Danbatta, this will ensure that the regulatory environment is conducive for innovation and growth.

He stressed the need to encourage partnerships between financial institutions, telecom operators, and fintech companies to develop and deliver innovative digital payment solutions.

He added that the country needed to leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector to expand and improve digital infrastructure.

“The government should take a leading role in promoting digital payments by setting a clear vision and providing support. Implement e-government initiatives to promote digital payments for public services and benefits distribution,” Danbatta said.

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, Olukayode Olubiyi, head of digital banking at UBA, argued that inadequate infrastructure posed one of the greatest challenges to Nigeria’s electronic payment.

He added that the dearth of operational and telecommunications facilities, as well as unstable power supply had slowed down the growth of electronic payment in the country.

In the same vein, Olukayode Olubiyi, head of digital banking at UBA emphasised the need for collaboration among stakeholders, including financial institutions, fintech companies, government entities, and regulatory bodies to ensure 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 said.

He noted 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 said.

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.

He said the challenge of failed transactions in Nigeria’s payment systems necessitated a collaborative effort among industry stakeholders and the implementation of appropriate policies and regulations.

He said: “An increased collaboration among the Central Bank, Telcos, the commercial banks and fintech 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.”

Olubiyi said this would require robust technology, stringent security measures, and seamless integration with various payment platforms and financial institutions.

“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,” he said.