By Omodele Adigun
As 2021 winds down in a matter of days, the banking landscape in the year was rocked by the ban on the sale of foreign exchange (forex) to the Bureau de Change (BDCs) operators, the new USSD charges agreed by the banks and telecos and the launch of e-Naira. Below are some of other issues that impacted Nigerians in the outgoing year.
The banking sector opened the year with the issuance of the Framework for Quick Response (QR) Code Payments in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) last January. This was in furtherance of its mandates to ensure the safety and stability of the Nigerian financial system, promote the use and adoption of electronic payments and foster innovation in the payments system.
Quick Response (QR) Codes are a kind of matrix barcode representing information presented as square grids, made up of black squares against a contrasting background, that can be scanned by imaging device, processed and transmitted by appropriate technology.
These codes can be used to present, capture and transmit payments information across payments infrastructure. The technology further enables the mobile channel to facilitate payments and presents another veritable avenue for promoting electronic payments for micro and small enterprises.
The apex bank also issued theFramework for Regulatory Sandbox Operations in the country early in the year.
In view of increasing consumer appetite for payment solutions and emerging disruptive technology in the financial services space, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has deemed it pertinent to ensure new and more flexible ways of engaging with the industry. One of the options being the use of a Regulatory Sandbox which is a formal process for firms to conduct live tests of new, innovative products, services, delivery channels, or business models in a controlled environment, with regulatory oversight, subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards. This would enable CBN stay abreast of innovations while promoting a safe, reliable and efficient Payments System to foster innovation without compromising on the delivery of its mandate.
Ban on cryptocurrency
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in February directed all banks to desist from transacting in and with entities dealing in cryptocurrency. The CBN also directed banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems. This directive was contained, in a circular dated February 5, 2021, signed by the Directors, Banking Supervision and Payments System Management, Bello Hassan and Musa Jimoh respectively, and communicated to deposit money banks (DMBs), Non-bank nancial institutions (NBFIs), and other nancial institutions (OFIs). They were directed to identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.
CBN, NCC Peg USSD charges
The CBN in March said customers should be paying a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction every time they use the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data services.
The apex bank said in a statement jointly signed by the apex bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi and Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde.
Based on the resolution reached by the parties, the new charges were to take effect on March 16, 2021.
Nigerian Telcos under the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria had threatened to suspend USSD service over N42billion debt owed by banks.
Based on the agreement, to promote transparency in the administration of the new charges, customers would be charged directly from their bank accounts.
MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria were awarded PSB licences by the CBN. PSB beans Payment Service Bank. The licence was issued by the CBN to telcos to enable them leverage on their massive infrastructure rollout and dealer network to offer some banking services, especially to the underbanked,
The simple meaning being that anywhere you are in Nigeria with a phone number and a handset, you will be able to do some banking transactions.
100 for 100 policy
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched a new policy to financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days, tagged 100 r0r 100.
The financial instrument titled “The 100 for 100 PPP – Policy on Production and Productivity.”
In his speech during the event, CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele said the CBN would advertise, screen, scrutinise and financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days, beginning from 01 November 2021.
“Today, in addition to all
CBN launches eNaira, mints N500m
On October 25, 2021, the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) , eNaira, was launched with over N500 million of the currency minted so far.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said 33 banks were fully integrated and live on the platform.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, Emefiele disclosed that over 2.5 million people visit the website daily.
He said another N200 million has been issued to financial institutions.
Over 2,000 customers have been onboarded and 120 merchants have successfully registered on the eNaira platform, Emefiele stated.
Immediately after the launch, Emefiele revealed that “customers who download the eNaira Speed Wallet App will be able to perform the following: onboard and create their wallet; fund their eNaira wallet from their bank account; transfer eNaira from their wallet to another wallet and make payment for purchases at registered merchant locations.”
The CBN, he said, “will continue to refine, fine-tune and upgrade the eNaira” and he assured that “Nigerians should expect to see additional functionalities in the coming months”.
Some of the additional functionalities include: accessibility and onboarding of customers without BVN and the use of the eNaira on the phone without the internet to further drive financial inclusion, making Nigeria one of the first countries in the world to deploy the CBDC via USSD on phones without relying on internet connectivity.
Another feature that will be deployed by the eNaira is the “onboarding of revenue collection agencies to increase and simplify collections and the creation of sector- specific tokens to support the Federal Government’s social programmes and distribution of targeted welfare schemes in a bid to lift millions out of poverty by 2025”.
CBN launches TIES Scheme to tackle youth unemployment…Inaugurates Body of Experts
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, launched the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), with a charge to beneficiaries to utilise the loans for the purpose it was meant for, just as he inaugurated an 11-member Body of Experts to oversee the screening of prospective beneficiaries of the scheme aimed at tackling unemployment and underemployment among Nigerian youth.
Performing the launch at the Bank’s Head Office in Abuja on Thursday, November 25, 2021, Emefiele disclosed that the formal launch of the TIES and inauguration of the Body of Experts (BoE) for the Scheme’s Developmental Component underscored the critical roles youth play in building new blocks for economic growth, particularly as the country’s national growth was highly dependent on a strong and competitive businesses.