Following the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the cashless policy to other states before June 2014, the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc has expressed preparedness to extend the initiative to the rural areas.
NIBSS provides the infrastructure for automated processing, settlement of payments and fund transfer instructions between banks, discount houses and card companies in Nigeria.
Speaking in an interview with journalists at the 20th anniversary of NIBSS in Lagos, the institution’s Managing Director, Mr. Ade Shonubi, said the plan of the institute was to be able to provide services that support financial inclusion.
"We know that most of our customers through the banks are those in the cities, so we are prepared to move to the rural areas. So we are working on how to get people who are in the villages working with cash to come into the banking space," the NIBSS boss said.
According to him, in the past 20 years, his organisation had introduced technology, processes and new ways of doing things.
He added: “When I look at where we are now, compared to where we are coming from, I think in Africa, the Nigerian payment space is recognised as one of the most developed. So, it shows that we have done some things right. It doesn’t mean we are where we should be, but at least we are making progress."
Speaking on some of NIBSS' products, he said: "There is what we call the Nigerian Instant Pay (NIP), which a lot of people use to make payment. The banks give it various names, but it is provided by NIBSS. We are one of the five countries in the world that have that and other countries want to start implementing that.
"We did it before the UK, the United States don’t have it and South Africa is trying to put something in place. So those are areas we believe we need to continue to innovate."
On his part, the Executive Director, Technology and Operations, NIBSS, Mr. Niyi Ajao, disclosed the organisation made history in October this year when it achieved one million transactions in a month.
"Part of the reason why we are celebrating our 20th anniversary is to create awareness because we believe we can do much more than what we are doing now. NIBSS has the capacity and considering the population of the country we have put in place infrastructure to support the increase in transaction volume," he added.