By Tony Obiechina Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday revealed that within a five-year period between 2015 and 2020 indigenous firms invested over $500 million in Nigeria’s Payment System.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, made the revelation at the 31st Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business editors, held in Enugu.
The Governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the bank, Edward Lamatek, spoke on the theme “Trends in Nigeria payments system: regulating the Fintech digital playing field.”
Emefiele said as the global economy recovers from COVID-19, it is obvious that FinTech will play a more important role towards resilient and sustainable recovery.
As a country with one of the largest millennial population in the world, the apex bank boss said that Nigeria remains primed to be an active playground for digital transformation and cannot afford to ignore the Fintech challenge.
Speaking on the efforts to cushion the effect of the pandemic, Emefiele said that among other things, the Bank implemented measures aimed at reducing the risk to financial stability.
The result of these efforts, he stated includes a resilient payment system that has continued to meet the needs of households and businesses in Nigeria.
“The high level of confidence in our payment system, between 2015 and 2020, has attracted the investment of about $500m in firms run by Nigerian founders,” he added.
The Governor also noted that as part of the Bank’s effort to drive development in the financial sector by leveraging latest technology, it will be introducing the eNaira in a few days.
Reiterating the importance of the eNaira, Emefiele said “the CBN decided to introduce a central bank digital currency, the eNaira, which would help in attaining our goals of fostering greater inclusion using digital channels, supporting cross border payments for businesses and firms as well as providing a reliable channel for remittances inflows into the country.
“With the deployment of the eNaira, Nigerians in remote areas can conduct financial activities using their digital as well as features on phone devices. Partnering with our stakeholders in the financial industry, I believe that more Nigerians will be financially included.”
He explained that the payment system in the country has evolved over the years through technological advancements and regulatory backing by the CBN to become a robust system.
He, however, pointed out that, similar to other sectors, the financial industry was impacted by the disruptions occasioned by the COVID19 pandemic which led to an accelerated shift towards digital services.
This trend, according to him, is expected to attract more investments from fintech companies, calling for an increased scrutiny by regulators to monitor developments and ensure the continuous safety and soundness of the sector.
“It is therefore imperative that Regulators must keep pace with these exponential developments and leverage new knowledge and technology tools such as Regtech and Suptech to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their mandate.
“From all indication, digital revolution will be a focus for Financial Institutions in the months ahead therefore making Fintechs a major driver of the industry.” he said further.