The Central Bank of Nigeria has said the country’s payment system attracted about $500m worth of investments between
2015 and 2020.
The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this on Wednesday while speaking on the theme, ‘Trends in Nigeria payments system: regulating the fintech digital playing field’, at the 31st seminar for finance correspondents and business editors, in Enugu.
“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 said.
The governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Edward Adamu, said the payment system in the country had evolved over the years through technological advancements and regulatory backing by the CBN to become a robust system.
The financial industry, like other sectors was impacted by the disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to an accelerated shift towards digital services, he said.
According to him, the trend was expected to attract more investments from fintech companies.
He called for an increased scrutiny by regulators to monitor developments and ensure the continuous safety and soundness of the sector.
The governor said, “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.
“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- (an estimated 62 per cent of the Nigerian population below 25 years of age), fast smartphone growth driven by increasing affordability, increasing mobile penetration and fast transition to 5G technology, 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 included a resilient payment system that had continued to meet the needs of households and businesses in Nigeria, he said.
He also noted that as part of the bank’s effort to drive development in the financial sector by leveraging latest technology, it would be introducing the eNaira in a few days.
Reiterating the importance of the eNaira, he 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.”