Ahead of July 1 cash-less policy implementation nationwide, banks and the Nigeria Interbank-Settlement System (NIBSS) have been enlightening customers on the benefits of using e-payment platforms in paying for goods and services. COLLINS NWEZE writes on the state of the e-payment market in Nigeria and hurdles ahead.
Oladipo Abiodun, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, spends a part of his business time in banking halls making payments to his suppliers of goods. In one of such visits to a bank in Central Lagos, a cashier who has been monitoring him for months, including his frequent visits to the banking hall, decided to inform him about electronic payments.
“You don’t need to be physically here to pay your supplier. You can do it at home or even in your shops or even mobile phone,” the cashier, who works with Guaranty Trust Bank, told Abiodun.
The use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, web payment, online transfers and even mobile money is just getting popular in Nigeria after years of relying heavily on cash for payment for goods and services. Although e-payment saves costs and time, just about four per cent of transactions done in the country are carried out through the process.
The figure was less than one per cent until January 2012 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched the cash-less banking initiative in Lagos. The ‘Cash-less Lagos’ as it is called, was later replicated in six other states and Federal Capital Territory last January. The policy will be implemented in all parts of the country from July 1.
CBN Head Shared Services, Chidi Umeano said the cash-less policy which currently running six states plus Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja will be implemented nationwide come July 1st, this year.
He said: “A decision was reached today that the cashless initiative would now be deployed nationwide. As you are all aware, the pilot phase was done in Lagos about two years ago and last year we implemented in six other states namely Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Kano, Rivers and FCT,”.
Continuing, he said that from the success recorded in those states, the CBN decided to move to other states in the country. “By July 1, we are going live in all the states of the federation. As you well know, this is a critical part of the payment system modernisation and the success registered so far has been very impressive,” he said.