• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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CBN and SWIFT co-host financial industry dinner

CBN and SWIFT co-host financial industry dinner

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and SWIFT, the financial messaging provider for more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 212 countries and territories, have co-hosted a dinner in Lagos.

The dinner brought together chief executives from Nigeria’s banking industry to discuss the country’s plans for financial market reform and its part in economic growth under Nigeria’s financial system development blueprint, Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS2020).

FSS2020 aims to transform the country’s financial services industry into a catalyst for growth, developing Nigeria into an international financial centre and ultimately establishing the Nigerian economy as one of the 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2020.

A key part of this process is the reform of the central bank’s payment system, supported by SWIFT.

Dipo Fatokun, director, Banking and Payment Systems Department, who represented Tunde Lemo, CBN deputy governor, Operations, at the event, reiterated Nigeria’s determination to adopt a multi-faceted approach in modernising the payments system and other financial market infrastructure.

Read also: African financial markets outlook: Reflections on Nigeria’s banking reforms

“It is our collective will to fashion a roadmap towards the realisation of the core objectives of one of the pillars of the Financial System Strategy 2020 – Payments System Vision 2020 – which is aimed at putting in place an efficient payment system that is nationally utilised and internationally recognised,” Fatokun said.

Christian Sarafidis, deputy chief executive of Europe, Middle East and Africa, SWIFT, emphasised SWIFT’s commitment to Nigeria and the rest of Africa. “We are honoured to be part of the reform of Nigeria’s payment system. As a strategic partner, we will support Nigeria as it moves towards its FS2020 goals. In the same way, we are supporting regionalisation projects across the African continent, including the West African Monetary Zone, of which Nigeria is a crucial element.”

Reform of the country’s financial market infrastructure is part of the wide-sweeping changes currently underway in Nigeria, which also includes government reform of the power, agriculture and upstream hydrocarbon sectors. All have previously been identified as crucial elements for economic growth by the CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

“The overall destination of the current drive for an efficient payment system, is where virtually all transactions are initiated and concluded without recourse to manual intervention,” Fatokun said.

The use of the SWIFT network – renowned for its security and reliability – by all participants in the central bank’s payment system will be an important element of the strategy to develop Nigeria as an international financial centre, as it complies with international standards and global regulatory requirements.

Hugo Smit, head of Africa South, SWIFT concluded: “We are committed to the success of Nigeria’s payment system reform, which has the potential to generate enormous benefits. Once the Real Time Gross Settlement System is on SWIFT, it creates a single window to the entire Nigerian financial community, and creates the foundation for an operating environment that eliminates manual processing – increasing efficiency and reducing risk.”