NCC harps on multidimensional collaboration to strengthen payment system

Salamatu Ejembi, Lagos

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The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has stressed the need for a multidimensional collaboration in enhancing the country’s payment system.

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The Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, made the emphasis at the 2023 annual conference of the Finance Correspondent Association of Nigeria (FICAN) at the weekend in Lagos.

The NCC boss, who was represented by a Deputy Director at the commission, Engr Anthony Ikemefuna, noted that “strengthening 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, Nigeria can build a robust and inclusive digital payment ecosystem that benefits its citizens and drives economic growth.”

He said there was the need to improve collaborative efforts between the NCC, telecoms operators ,fintech companies, financial institutions and regulators such as the CBN, to enable proper coordination of policies and regulations related to digital payments and telecommunications.

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

He also emphasised 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 started.

The Head, Digital Banking, United Bank for Africa, Mr. Olukayode Olubiyi, stated that inadequate infrastructure such as dearth of operational and telecommunications facilities, as well as unstable power supply posed the greatest challenges to Nigeria’s electronic payment system.

According to him, “during the period of cash scarcity earlier this year, banks faced unprecedented e-payment failures, prompting the urgent need for technological infrastructure upgrades,”

To move away from these challenges, Olubiyi recommended adequate collaboration with the availability of robust technology, stringent security measures, and seamless integration with various payment platforms and financial institutions.

For his part, the Chairman of FICAN, Chima Nwokoji noted that the challenges witnessed in the country’s payment system during the cash scarcity earlier this year provided a window of opportunity for the banking system to be proactive and inventive.

“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, Nwokoji said.

The theme of the two-day conference was “Strengthening Digital Infrastructure for Efficient Innovative Payment System in Nigeria.

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