Nigerian Payments System gets Strategy Board
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CON on January 30, 2015 inaugurated the Payments System Strategy Board (PSSB), which is to provide strategic direction for the National Payments System. Also inaugurated were four Payments Scheme Boards, nine Initiatives Working Groups, and four Special Interest Working Groups.
The Board, which will be the pinnacle organization for the governance, management and operation of the Nigerian Payments System, replaces the National Payments System Council (NPSC).
While inaugurating the Board, the Governor listed its major terms of reference to include: provision of strategic direction and drive the overall National Payments System Strategy; provision of cross-scheme priorities and resource allocation; and arbitration in cross-scheme decisions.
The Board, which is chaired by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has the Minister of Communication Technology, the Accountant General of the Federation, the four Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Chairmen of the four Payments Scheme Boards as members.
The Board membership also includes independent directors from the end-user community represented by the Directors General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Consumer Protection Council; and the Directors-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
Other members of the Board are the Chairmen of two sub-committees of the Bankers’ Committee (Payments Infrastructures and Financial Literacy subcommittees); the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission; the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service; and the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Governor said that the country had made some significant achievements in the Payments System Vision 2020 towards making our payments system ‘Nationally utilised and internationally recognised.’
He enumerated some of the achievements recorded so far to include the implementation of the Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN) scheme, the deployment of a new Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) that is built on the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging standards, introduction of the Cash-less Policy, and the deployment of the Scripless Securities Settlement System (S4).
Furthermore, the Governor cited other achievements to include the introduction of Cheque Truncation and the reduction of clearing cycles for ACH payments and cheques from three days (T+2) to the next day (T+1); setting of limits on encashment of third party cheques and a maximum cap of N10 million for cheque payments, to encourage electronic payment channels; adoption of mobile money as a major channel for delivering financial inclusion; migration of all payment cards from magnetic stripe technology to Chip-and-PIN, otherwise known as EMV, due to the weaknesses of the former; and active support for the implementation of the Federal Government Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The Governor however noted that the Bank did not plan to rest on its oars. “In that sense, looking in retrospective, and interpreting the future of our payments system in the light of the present, we see our accomplishments as a stepping stone, bearing in mind that there are still a great deal to be done,” he added.
Speaking earlier in a welcome address, the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Sarah Alade gave statistics indicating the leap in the value of electronic payments between 2012 and 2014. According to her, Point of Sale (POS) payments increased by 550% from N 48 billion to N 312 billion, Web payments increased by 108% from N 31.5 billion to N 65.6 billion, NIP increased by 423% from N3.8 trillion to N 19.9 trillion, while Mobile payments increased by 8,400% from N 3.5 billion to N 296.9 billion.