The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the Framework for Regulatory Sandbox Operations, to ensure the safety and stability of the Nigerian Financial System, among other things.
It is also to promote the use and adoption of electronic payments and foster innovation in the payments system.
The CBN released the structure on its website on Tuesday and says one of the objectives is to increase the potential for innovative business models that advance financial inclusion.
The bank explained that it came up with the structure to ensure new and more flexible ways of engaging with the banking industry.
This, it said, is in view of increasing consumer appetite for payment solutions and emerging disruptive technology in the financial services space.
It said that the structure would enable the bank stay abreast of innovations while promoting a safe, reliable and efficient payments system to foster innovation without compromising on the delivery of its mandate.
“This Framework, therefore, defines the establishment, rules and operations of a Regulatory Sandbox for the Nigerian Payments System to promote effective competition, embrace new technology, encourage Financial Inclusion and improve customer experience, with a view to engendering public confidence in the Financial System,” it said.
The bank explained also that the structure was to reduce time-to-market for innovative products, services, and business models.
According to CBN, the framework will increase competition, widen consumers’ choice and lower costs.
It also said that it would ensure appropriate consumer protection safeguards in innovative products.
The CBN said that the structure would clearly define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and the operations of the Sandbox for the Nigerian Payments System industry.
The apex bank added that the framework would ensure adequate provisions in regulations to create an enabling environment for innovation without compromising on safety for consumers and the overall payments system.
Besides, it said that it would provide an avenue for regulatory engagement with FinTech firms in the payment space, while contributing to economic growth.
Meanwhile, a survey by the apex has indicated that there is an increase in the availability of loans to all firm sizes in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020.
The survey, which was conducted in December 2020, was based on lenders’ own responses and not a reflection of the bank’s views on credit conditions in the economy.
The survey stated that there is an overall availability of credit to the corporate sector, which increased in Q4 2020 and is to go higher in Q1 2021.
The availability of unsecured credit provided to households increased in Q4 2020 and is expected to increase in Q1, 2021.