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NIBBS, CBN Launch Quick Response Code to Boost Financial Inclusion

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The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all deposit money banks (DMBs) have collaborated to launch the NQR, a Quick Response (QR) Code-driven payment solution to aid financial inclusion in the country.

The solution is an indigenous QR code platform introduced by NIBSS as an alternative to existing payment solutions such as the point of sale (PoS). However, this solution does not come with the cost implications of a PoS machine, but involves contactless payment needed during this pandemic era.

In addition, the solution would provide a “touch-free” option of receiving and making payments for goods and services by simply scanning to paying.

Speaking at the virtual launch yesterday, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, said introducing the product was timely, adding that it would continue to put Nigeria’s payment system on the global map.

According to her, the solution would help curtail the spread of Covid-19.

She said: “The Nigerian payment system has evolved significantly over the past decade with wide spread technological advancement supported by deliberate enabling regulation which has facilitated the growth and proliferation of innovative financial products, services and channels.

“Indeed, Nigeria has leapfrogged a number of advanced economies in the area of financial innovation.

“Covid-19 pandemic has also accentuated the situation with more opportunities for financial institutions and other players within the payment ecosystem to innovate and provide more options for payments and settlements. “Globally, there has been a major shift from contact to contactless options with a number of countries like china Thailand, Malaysia, India Singapore, Ghana and Nigeria pioneering groundbreaking solutions in this regard.”

She added: “The CBN in response to these market developments released the response to development released the framework for QR code payments for Nigeria in January 2021, as part of efforts to further deepen the adoption of electronic payments in the country.

“The framework stipulates acceptable standards for implementation and interoperability roles and responsibility of participants for QR code schemes in the Nigerian system amongst others.

“The NQR payment solution coming soon after the QR code framework would bridge an urgent gap within Nigeria’s fast evolving payment landscape.

“It would unify QR code scheme across the country, offer a robust payment platform that delivers instant value from p2b and B2B transactions and a more improved customer experience.

“The scheme would also allow a more convenient and integrated process leveraging Application Programming Interface (API).”

Furthermore, she said this would reduce the cost of financial services, deepen financial inclusion and grow economic and business activities to increase payment activities and merchant outlets.

She added: “The CBN as the regulator of the banking and payment system is committed to providing an enabling regulatory environment that ensures interoperability, proper market conduct and continued innovation within the financial services ecosystem to foster healthy competition, high quality services and financial inclusion.”

On his part, the Managing director NIBBS Mr. Premier Oiwoh said: “The financial service industry in Nigeria has grown immensely and the trajectory over the years has been tremendous but it is time to do more as our industry does not respect foundation but it only respects innovation.

“This is critical time that call for transformation by innovation. And as we position ourselves ahead of the curve, our job is to ensure that the industry thrives and stays innovative is the most reliable vehicle to ensure this.”

Finance

NAIC Pays N1.7bn Claims to Farmers

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The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) said it paid a total of N1.7 billion claims to over 5,000 farmers in the past two years.

NAIC, which is the only federal government owned insurance company authorised to offer agric insurance services to farmers at subsidised rate, said a breakdown of the paid claims showed that it paid N856 million to insured farmers in 2019 and N848 million in 2020.

Commenting on the development, NAIC Managing Director, Mrs. Folashade Joseph, said the claims were paid to the farmers to cover losses incurred in the course of doing business.

Joseph, enjoined agricultural investors and lending institutions to continue to partner NAIC by taking agricultural insurance cover that will enable them remain firm in business despite unforeseen circumstances from weather conditions and other risks in order to realise the food security agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.

She said the above-mentioned amount was shared among five million farmers who suffered various setbacks in their farms as a result of natural course.

According to her, the NAIC Agric Insurance Scheme was launched in 1987 by federal government to restore the confidence and productivity of Nigerian farmers who suffered losses as a result of natural disaster such as flood, drought, pest and diseases.

The NAIC boss explained that the essence of the sensitisation campaign embarked by the corporation was to let the farmers know and understand exactly what NAIC does, the importance of insurance, and make them understand how insurance works, how they can access NAIC products and services, how to process their claims, as well as what insurance stands to do for them.

“Agribusiness is evolving fast and so many risks are being thrown up, many new participants are coming into the business of agriculture, and the risks are on the increase if you look at them across the value chain, there is no so many participants so we need to keep sensitising the farmers and let them know we are serving them, and we need to know from them how to serve them,” she explained.

Speaking further, she said, “our assurance to farmers is that when they are insured and they suffer losses covered by any of the policies they purchased, including natural disasters and whatever, they will get paid for their losses, and that is the purpose of insurance and setting up NAIC.

“Our motor is ‘Plowing the Farmer Back to Business, Plowing the Farmers into Prosperity’, and we settle claims.”

She said NAIC currently deals with thousands of farmers (Small, Medium, and Large scale farmers) across the country, adding that the corporation serves farmers with investment as little as N100, 000, and at the same time serves multinational farmers.

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Banking Sector

UBA Organises Capacity Building Forum

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UBA Insider dealings

As part of its commitment to support the growth and sustainability of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSME) in the continent, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to organise the next edition of its UBA Business Series.

The UBA Business Series which is a monthly event, is an MSME Workshop as well as a capacity building initiative of the bank where business leaders and professionals share well-researched insights on best practices for running successful businesses, especially in the face of the difficult operating environment that dominates the African business landscape.

Through this initiative, UBA has been assisting with essential tips to help businesses re-examine their models and strategies and ensure that they stay afloat and remain thriving, a statement from the bank explained.

The topic for the next edition of the series is, “Managing Performance for Business Growth,” and it will be held today, via Microsoft Teams.

At this session, the Managing Director, Secure ID Limited, Mrs Kofo Akinkugbe, will be sharing useful tips and insights on the key strategies of performance management to boost business growth.

Akinkugbe is the founder of SecureID Nigeria, a MasterCard, VISA and Verve certified Smartcard Personalization Bureau and Digital Technology company. She currently serves as the Managing Director/CEO, Secure Card Manufacturing, – a Smartcard manufacturing plant producing high security identity cards and documents for the Banking, Telecoms and Public sectors across Africa and beyond.

UBA’s Head, SME Banking, Sampson Aneke said of Akinkugbe, “with her vast experience garnered over the years from various sectors, she will help business owners understand how performance management strategies can be effectively implemented to ensure business growth.”

He emphasised UBA’s commitment and deep passion for small businesses, which according to him, remains the engine of any developing economy adding, “We know small businesses are the backbone of the economy in every country. In many climes, businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2 per cent of all businesses. This no doubt captures the importance of SMEs to a thriving economy which is why UBA is committed to seeing them flourish.”

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Banking Sector

CBN to Extend Credit Risk Management System to OFIs

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In an effort to curb growing bad debt, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said it will extend its Credit Risk Management System to Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) operating in Nigeria to protect them from bad debtors.

According to the apex bank, this is important following the successful implementation of the credit risk system in other lending institutions operating in Nigeria.

The bank disclosed this in a circular titled ‘Credit Risk Management System: Commencement of enrolment of all Development Finance Institutions, Microfinance Banks, Primary Mortgage Banks and Finance Companies’ and signed by Kelvin Amugo, the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, on Monday.

In part, the circular read, “As part of efforts to promote a safe and sound financial system in Nigeria, the CBN introduced the CRMS to improve credit risk management in commercial, merchant and non-interest banks as well as to prevent predatory borrowers from undermining the banking system.

“With the successful implementation of the CRMS in deposit money banks, it has become expedient to commence the enrolment of Other Financial Institutions on the CTMS platform.

“Accordingly, all DFIs, MfBs, PMBs and FCs are required to report all credit facilities (principal and interest) to the CRMs and to update same on monthly basis.

“OFIs shall note the Bank Verification Numbers and Tax Identification Numbers are the only basis for regulatory renditions”.

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