NIBBS, CBN Launch Quick Response Code to Boost Financial Inclusion
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.”
Osinbajo Lauds China on Loans Offered to Africans, Repayment System
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has commended the Chinese government for the loans given to African countries and its repayment system.
According to Osinbajo, the Chinese loans have reduced the reliance of Africans on international financial institutions like the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund amongst others.
He stated these at King’s College, London on March 27, 2023 while delivering a public lecture on ‘China’s Investment in Africa, Investors King reports.
The Vice President lauded China for constantly meeting the needs of African countries which has reduced the burden on the western institutions.
He further mentioned that the loan servicing system was made easy to aid the African economies, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020.
Through its Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), China offered 73 low income economies suspension of principal and interest payments.
“Chinese banks provided 63% of the total debt relief while being only owed 30% of the debt service payments due,” Osinbajo noted.
The VP pointed out that China is the largest provider of foreign direct investment which provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of Africans.
On Chinese investment in Africa, Osinbajo stated that $254 billion was disbursed in 2021 which was calculated as four times the volume of US-Africa trade.
“China remains by far the largest lender to African countries. Chinese companies have also taken the lead in exploiting minerals in Africa, many now in lithium mining in Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Most African countries are rightly unapologetic about their close ties with China. China shows up where and when the west will not or are reluctant.
“And many African countries are of the view that the ‘beware of the Chinese Trojan loans’ advice from the west is wise but probably self serving. Africa needs the loans and the infrastructure. And China offers them.”
“All of Chinese lending to Africa is only 5% of all outstanding public and publicly guaranteed debt in low and middle income countries, compared to 23% held by the World Bank and other multilaterals. Chinese lenders account for 12 per cent of Africa’s private and public external debt,” the vice president stated.
FirstBank Announces a Name Change of its Subsidiaries, Reiterates its Commitment to Boosting Cross-border Payments
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier financial services institution, has announced a phased corporate name change of its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa.
FBNBank UK, FBNBank Sierra Leone, FBNBank Gambia and FBNBank DRC are the first set of subsidiaries effecting the name alignment. They are now known and addressed as FirstBank UK, FirstBank Sierra Leone, FirstBank Gambia and FirstBank DRC. The Ghana, Senegal and Guinea subsidiaries will be next in the phased name change implementation.
The name change is being implemented to align the subsidiaries with the parent brand and to enjoy the strong heritage and brand equity built by FirstBank Nigeria in its 129 years of banking leadership. This will further enhance the quality-of-service delivery resulting in better brand clarity, uniformity and consistency across all the markets where the Bank operates.
A leading financial inclusion services provider, FirstBank Group is committed to its nation-building goal. It has taken giant performance strides on its unique growth trajectory as it continues to build distinctive capabilities through partnerships and the constant drive to reinvent itself.
This performance is evidenced in the numerous awards and recognitions bestowed on the institution. These awards include Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investing in Africa 2023 by Global Finance Awards; Best Corporate Bank in Western Africa 2022 by Global Banking; Finance; Best CSR Bank Africa by International Business Magazine in 2022; and ranked as number one in Nigeria in terms of Overall Performance; Profitability; Efficiency and Return o Risk by the Top 100 African Bank Rankings 2022 released by The Banker Magazine from the stables of Financial Times.
In addition, in Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers conducted by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc., the Bank was crowned: Market Leader in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR); Market Leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG); Highly Regarded in Corporate Banking and Digital Solutions and Notable: in SME Banking.
Speaking on the name change, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, said ” the name change which coincides with FirstBank’s 129th founding anniversary (March 31 st , 2023) is indeed a milestone reflective of our resolve to continuously provide the gold standard of excellence and value as we put our customers First. The new identity of the subsidiaries contributes to an enhanced brand presence. It helps our customers and stakeholders better appreciate the value of the diversified products suites, competitive pricing and extensive business networks the FirstBank Group offers. These include our commitment to boosting cross-border businesses including trade and investment opportunities essential to enhancing trade relations amongst countries, thereby strengthening the economies of host communities and reducing poverty,” he concluded.
First Bank Denies Forgery Allegation in Face of Legal Battle with Loan Defaulter
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has issued a denial against the forgery allegation made by Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, the owner of Whiteplains British School.
In the lawsuit marked CR/266/2023, the federal ministry of justice had accused the bank of forging a “tripartite legal mortgage without the consent of Mr Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, with intent to commit fraud.”
In an official statement, First Bank described the accusation as a spurious allegation made by a delinquent debtor, which is aimed at tainting the bank’s loan recovery efforts and legal enforcement of its security collateral interest in line with the terms of the loan.
The bank emphasized that it operates by the highest standards of ethical conduct and will under no circumstances involve itself in any act of illegality. It further assured its numerous customers, stakeholders, and the general public that it remains focused on its mission of providing the best financial services.
The case has been adjourned until May 8th, as the prosecution lawyer stated that all the defendants had yet to be served with the charge.
It is common for loan defaulters to resort to legal battles with banks and this case is no different. However, it is important for both parties to ensure that the matter is handled in a transparent and legal manner.
First Bank’s denial of the allegation is a clear indication that it is standing firm against any attempt by recalcitrant debtors to fritter away depositors’ funds under its custody. The bank’s focus on its mission of providing the best financial services to its numerous customers is commendable and should be the guiding principle for all financial institutions.
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