The Central Bank of Nigeria has moved to give a further boost to its Cashless Nigeria policy introduced about five years ago.
The CBN has collaborated with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Plc to introduce an award programme aimed at motivating Deposit Money Banks, companies, individuals and other stakeholders in the payment system to leverage cashless transactions.
The programme, tagged Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme Efficiency Award, was launched in Lagos last week.
The Deputy Governor, Operations Directorate, CBN, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, who spoke at the maiden edition of the programme, said the award was meant to reward players in the sector for their “performance, efficiency and innovation in the provision of electronic payment services.”
He said the award parameters were based on data obtained from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Central Switch.
Barau said, “At the outset, the level of merchant apathy was high thereby inhibiting adoption. This and other reasons gave birth to EPIS, with the objective of recognising, encouraging and rewarding stakeholders in the payment system.
“Other objectives of the programme include rewarding and appreciating efforts in adoption as well as usage of all channels that promote financial inclusion to further drive pervasive usage of electronic payment in Nigeria.”
The inaugural event was attended by officials of DMBS, representatives of state governments and other e-payment service providers.
About 20 awards in various categories were presented to banks and non-banks organizations.
Citing Sweden as example where only two per cent of transactions are done via cash, the CBN deputy governor charged the industry to work harder to catch up with the rest of the world.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Diamond Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Citibank Nigeria, Standard Chartered Bank were among the winners while Guarantee Trust Bank Plc went home with the highest number of rewards.
In the non-bank categories, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Lagos State and Kwara State governments were declared winners, among others.
Barau said the award was meant to motivate lenders and other stakeholders to work harder for the growth and the development of the Cashless Nigeria initiative.
He hoped it would promote healthy cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders in driving efficiency in the provision of payment services.