CBN To Offer Incentives To Encourage Cashless Economy In Nigeria

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VENTURES AFRICA – To ensure the success of Nigeria’s cashless scheme, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed plans to introduce incentives for traders through commercial banks.

While speaking at a cashless policy seminar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), CBN Deputy Governor, Tunde Lemo, said based on the report generated from the appraisal of the Lagos roll-out of the cashless scheme, some far-reaching decisions would be taken to improve the effectiveness and ease of the policy on the economy.

CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had said last week that a final review of the financial activities of the nation in the last 10 months has clearly indicated that the nation is not ready for the cashless scheme national rollout in January 2013.

“What CBN is thinking right now is to encourage banks to introduce some incentives to merchants. We are trying to determine the best incentive schemes for stakeholders,” said Lemo who was represented by Eric Yaduma of CBN’s Shared Services Sector.

Lemo, however, said the cashless policy will soon be implemented in other states in the federation with more extensive and effective awareness campaigns.

He explained that a draft report has already been presented to management, and after the review of the report some positive changes should be expected before the policy is rolled out to other states. He also said that one of the aims of the apex bank is to perfect the cashless policy, which had 5,000 POS outlets at inception but now has about 200,000 outlets in Lagos before extending the policy to other states across the country.

“We are working with the Nigerian Inter-Banks Services (NIBS) to address some of the challenges we are experiencing in Lagos. We are also engaging telecommunication companies to give priority to data services in order to eradicate the network challenges,” he said.

The CBN Deputy Governor also revealed that the financial institution is partnering the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to improve on the awareness level adopted in Lagos “because awareness is key to the success of the policy.”

Other efforts made by the CBN includes the creation of a consumer protection department and an e-payment fraud forum that will address issues related to the cashless policy and fraud related cases under consumers resolution services respectively.

Meanwhile, LCCI president, Goodie Ibru lamented that the kick-off of the cashless policy in Lagos in April this year introduced a lot of challenges and opportunities in doing business in the state.

He however said that “To help improve the policy as CBN gets set to extend it to other states, they, as regulators, should pay more attention to developing business in the e-payment sector because it is a critical sector that will drive Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), international trade and trade integration.”