CBN, EFInA proffer leeway to mobile payment service implementation



Key to the implementation of an efficient payment system that enhances financial inclusion and effective transmission mechanics, overall financial stability of the economy is a guideline framework that charts the way for perfect utilisation of mobile payment services.



This was the view of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and stakeholders who gathered at the mobile payment services regulatory framework dissemination workshop organised by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), an independent, professional and non-profit organisation.



Speaking at the workshop, Acting Director Banking Operations, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Abayomi Atoloye, representing the Deputy Governor Banking Operations, in his key note address titled; "Overview of the Central Bank of Nigerian Mobile Payments Regulatory Framework and the Future of Mobile Payments in Nigeria," said one of the initiatives of the payments system Vision 2020 is the development of Mobile Payment System in Nigeria, adding that the bank is particularly interested in the mobile payment service in view of its capacity to drive financial inclusion, especially among rural dwellers as well as the un-banked in urban localities.



"It will, therefore, be a delight to the Central bank to feel the pulse of the stakeholders in order to appreciate any issues that may be thrown up by the policy. As you are all aware, for this initiative, a regulatory environment towards achieving availability, acceptance and usage of mobile payments service in Nigeria, I will therefore use this opportunity to highlight some of the provision of the framework for your consideration," Atoloye said.



Chief Executive Officer Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), Miss Modupe Ladipo said that when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued its Mobile Payments Services Regulatory Framework in June 2009, it became necessary for EFInA given its mandate, to provide a platform for stakeholders to share their views and agree on the implementation of the framework.



According to her, the workshop serves as an opportunity for knowledge exchange between the regulators and key stakeholders (banks, payment service providers and mobile operators) on perspectives on the regulation of mobile payments and branchless banking in different jurisdictions. The workshop will also create awareness of the framework and provide stakeholders the opportunity to present their views."



Ladipo noted that EFInA's mandate is to facilitate the development of Innovative Inclusive Financial Services for the unbanked and under-banked, we believe the implementation of Mobile Payments in Nigeria is critical to the achievement of this goal. She said, "EFInA's aim is to become an innovation centre, targeting catalytic change across Nigeria's financial sector, to make markets work for those currently excluded from the formal financial services"



Mr. Gerald Nyaoma Arita, director Banking Services, Central Bank of Kenya gave an overview of the evolution, regulation and supervision of Safaricom's mobile money product Mpesa in Kenya.



Arita stated, "The Kenyan formal banking channels have low reach amongst their population due to the high cost of establishing an extensive branch network, particularly outside of the urban center and mobile money has to the potential to bridge this sizable gap". Other regulators V.J. Dela Selormey, director Banking Supervision Department, Bank of Ghana (retired) and Chowdhury Haque, executive director Payment Systems, Bangladesh Bank gave their perspectives on the regulation and supervision of mobile payments and branchless banking in their jurisdictions.



With focus on regulation and supervision of mobile payments, the workshop which had Nigerian thought leaders and international speakers in the Finance and Mobile Payments Industry in attendance saw many participants including three regulators from the Central Bank of Kenya, Bank of Bangladesh and Bank of Ghana sharing their perspectives on the regulation, supervision and implementation of Branchless Banking and Mobile Payment Regulatory Framework.



The duo of Evelyn Stark of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Ahmed Dermish of Bankable Frontier Associates delivered presentation on the "Financial Inclusion and Mobile Payments: Global Policy Challenges and Innovations". Mr. Dermish said, "The road to achieving inclusive mobile banking should be clearly demarked by a proportionate regulatory framework in consultation with those stakeholders who incur the risk and cost of the journey".



Other discussions included interactive sessions on the "Central Bank of Nigeria Mobile Payments Regulatory Framework and Key Success Factors for Mobile Payments and Branchless Banking: Attaining the balance between Regulation, Innovation and Financial Inclusion. George Held, director Zap Holding BV stated, "Sustainable mobile payments service introduction and always works in partnership with leading Financial Institutions under the guidance and supervision from respective Central Banks". 


(Source: Guardian)

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