Electronic Payment Providers Want NIPOST as Mobile Money Sole Agent *** Rule Out Involvement of Telecommunication Operators

The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) may become the sole agent of the mobile money scheme in the country. Operators are looking at the possibility because of the shortage of agents and the fact that NIPOST is in almost every local government area in the country.
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Secretary, Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN), Onajite Regha said the industry is already talking with the Nigeria Postal Service to be the main agent of the scheme because they have several outlets across the country.
On the non-involvement of telecommunications operators including MTN Nigeria; Globacom; Airtel and Etisalat as the lead player in the mobile money scheme, Regha explained that one major reason was that the operators are not trained to manage finance, “through this, the CBN is trying to avoid any systemic failure.”
She however, urged the telecommunications operators to aid ePayment with quality data service, saying “Electronic payment relies on telecommunication infrastructure to go through and telecoms companies are strategic in this area.”
Meanwhile, two years after the take-off of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cash-less economy initiative, the number of Point of Sales Terminals (PoS) deployed by the financial sector in the country has hit 200,000.
Interestingly, out of this 200, 000 terminals, only 40 per cent of them are said to be working efficiently now.
About 1.13 million transactions worth N761 billion were on a monthly basis transacted on the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Instant Pay (NIP) platform, which according to reports have grown steadily since inception, a year ago.
Besides, despite its slow growth, transactions through mobile payment was said to have also hit N10.1 billion as at August.
Regha who gave these statistics, in a chat with journalists, yesterday, in Lagos, said there has been appreciable level of acceptance for ePayments in the country, adding that the CBN is keen on seeing that cash transactions were reduced to its barest minimum in the country.
Regha reiterated the apex bank’s resolve to strengthen the cash-less policy in five more states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The states include; Abia; Anambra; Kano; Ogun and Rivers.
Already, she informed that E-PPAN had taken the campaign to several parts of the new states, saying that the people expressed readiness to go electronical in their transactions.
The CEO, who informed that E-PPAN, which is made up of the deposit money banks; mobile money operators; PTSP; card associations and switching firms, said the CBN was ready to support any state that is ready for the scheme, saying they hoped that by next one year, the initiative would have gone round the six geo-political zones of the country.
According to her, the Lagos scheme has been a success, saying that through ePayments scheme, the state recorded 3000 per cent increase in its earnings. She said though there are still challenges, especially that of infrastructure, “but that is been taking care of the CBN and its partners. You know it is new in this country and so many things are involve, definitely it will take a while before we perfect things, but we are sure we are going to get the scheme right.”
Regha said the scheme would not help the country in curbing corruption, but would also help in the realization of Vision 20:2020. She stressed that more education and increased enlightenment campaign would further add impetus to the scheme.
Quoting a NIBSS report, the E-PPAN CEO informed “the cash-less story is definitely a success in Lagos with a steady growth rate in the second quarter of the year. PoS recorded an average of volume of 591,000 transactions in a month, while the value of transactions on a monthly basis also increased as the confidence level of customers in the payment device increased. This trend would likely continue once Value Added Services (VAS) are deployed on PoS terminals and merchants earn incentives from accepting payments on the terminals.”

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