The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday disclosed plans to extend the cashless policy to other states in the country before June 2014.
The Deputy Governor (Operations), CBN, Mr. Tunde Lemo, revealed this Thursday in an interview with journalists at the 20th anniversary of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) titled: “The Evolution to the Future Cashless Nigeria: Positioning the Nigerian Payment and Settlement Ecosystem for Cash-less Reality,” held in Lagos.
The cashless policy, which was introduced in Lagos in January 2012 was extended to Abuja, Kano Rivers, Ogun, Abia and Anambra States in July this year. Its aim is to reduce the dominance of cash as a means of payment in the economy.
According to Lemo, in order to ensure effective nationwide rollout by next year, the central bank would collaborate with other stakeholders in the payment system to integrate mobile phones into point of sale (PoS) machines.
“We have been talking about how to enhance connectivity and one of the things agreed was to work with some service providers. But beyond that, we looked and decided what else to do, particularly outside Lagos now that we have rolled out the cashless policy to six other states. Today, we have licensed about 21 mobile money operators, so how do we now link mobile money to our PoS? If mobile phones can serve as touch points, our transactions would go up rapidly.
“We hope to rollout to all the states by the second quarter of next year and we hope that by next year, as we roll out more PoS machines, we have to see how we can integrate the mobile phones into the network because in the hinterlands, the challenges would be more,” Lemo explained.
The CBN deputy governor said the 20th anniversary of the NIBSS was an opportunity to discuss how to continue to transform the Nigerian payment system, adding that the value and volume of electronic payment has grown significantly.
Lemo said: “We haven’t done badly at all in the last four years, but there are still a lot to be covered and we have made significant progress in the area of infrastructure provision, particularly led by the cash-less programme of the CBN. We believe that if we continue to drive this, then we will make the payment system a lot more efficient.
“An efficient payment system is good for the transmission of monetary policy and that is why it important to us at the CBN. It is also good for financial stability because a stable financial system is seen through how efficient the payment system is.
“Once a payment system is in turmoil, it affects the financial system. So a very effective payment system is going to be an effective anchor for the transformation of our economy even as we strive to be one of the 20 biggest economies in the world by 2020.”