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NCC seeks partnerships with Telcos, banks, FinTechs for innovative payment solutions

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, at a recent stakeholders’ forum, underlines the need for ‘multifaceted cooperation’ to drive innovation and efficiency in the evolving digital payments ecosystem in the West African country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In as part of efforts at developing and deploying innovative digital payment solutions for consumers of financial products and services, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stressed the need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to strengthen the country’s payments ecosystem.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, hinted at this while speaking at the 2023 Annual Conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN).

Addressing the participants at this year’s  FICAN conference with the theme, “Strengthening Digital Infrastructure for Efficient Innovative Payment Systems in Nigeria”, Prof. Danbatta underlined the need for multifaceted cooperation to drive innovation and efficiency in the evolving digital payments ecosystem in the West African country.

Represented at the event by Anthony Ikemefuna, a Deputy Director at the telecoms sector regulatory Commission, the EVC/CEO of NCC noted the efforts at enhancing digital infrastructure to support innovative payments system in Nigeria required a long-term commitment marked by collaborations, investments, and adaptability.

Danbatta, however, stated that by addressing these strategies comprehensively and proactively, the country  could develop and deploy a robust and inclusive digital payments ecosystem.

According to him, this would benefit Nigerian consumers and accelerate economic growth.

NCC’s vision and core mandate

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission also disclosed that reinforcement of collaborative efforts between the NCC and financial regulators, particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is central to the NCC vision in the country.

He equally emphasised the importance of coordinating policies and regulations related to digital payments and telecoms in order to create a regulatory environment conducive to innovation and growth in Nigeria.

The EVC/CEO restated the necessity of fostering partnerships between financial institutions, telecoms operators, and Financial Technology (FinTech) companies to develop and deliver innovative digital payment solutions to consumers.

Danbatta urged the industry stakeholders and Nigerians at large to leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector of the economy to expand existing digital infrastructure.

Why government to play a leading role in promoting digital payments: Danbatta

He as well urged the government to lead the crusade in promoting digital payments by setting a clear vision and providing support to attain the desired objective.

The NCC Chief Executive, therefore, sought the implementation of e-government initiatives to encourage digital payments for public services and foster transparency in the system.

In his contribution at the conference, Okukayode Olubiyi, Head of Digital Banking at the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, also aligned with the call for collaboration among stakeholders, including financial institutions, FinTechs, government institutions, and regulatory agencies to improve the digital payments space in Nigeria.

Olubiyi stated that policy, regulation, and collaboration are pivotal elements in the success of innovative solutions in the Nigerian financial services sector.

He also noted that inadequate infrastructure poses one of the most significant challenges to electronic payment system in the country.

The expert cited some issues, including lack of operational telecommunications facilities and unstable power supply to sustain the system.

He stressed the importance of collaborative efforts among the industry stakeholders to address these challenges by including expanding Internet connectivity and streamlining electronic transfers.

As a measure to minimise electronic frauds, Olubiyi urged the government, private sector organisations, and international partners to collaborate on cybersecurity efforts in this regard.

He emphasised the significance of sharing intelligence and pooling resources to combat cybercrime effectively.

Speaking at the conference also, Chima Nwokoji, National Chairman of FICAN, noted the necessity for banks and FinTech firms to expand their digital infrastructure while making it more sophisticated to ensure seamless transactions and fund safety in the payments ecosystem.

Nwokoji particularly referenced a recent World Bank report that highlighted the inadequacy of Nigeria’s digital and financial infrastructure to support a swift transition to a cashless economy.

The FICAN Chief underscored the pressing need for proactive measures and innovative solutions in the country’s payment system.

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