NIBSS puts activated BVN figure at 42 million

Banks and financial technology companies (FinTechs) have been urged to collaborate with a view to bringing up more solutions that will aid the country’s payment system.

Speaking during part one of The Guardian-Fintech1000 and Webinar Series (GFWS) with the theme, “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Economy, Banks and Fintechs” yesterday, the speakers submitted that the pandemic showed several lapses in governance, not only in Nigeria but also across the globe.

The event moderated by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), InfoGraphics Nigeria, Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, had the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman; Executive Director, Business Development, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBBS), Christabel Onyejekwe; Group Head, Pay Attitude, Onajite Regha and Chief Client Officer, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, Rashidat Adebisi, among others, as speakers.

Suleiman said the pandemic scaled up several challenges already inherent in the Nigerian system.

He noted that already, there were issues the country was dealing with, including poor health care system, foreign exchange fluctuation and volatility in the oil and banking sectors, but “COVID-19 accelerated these issues.”

According to him, the challenge, however, stirred up transformational changes in the banking sector, which the operators have to cope with.

Suleiman stressed that the global financial system was impacted and subsequently became weakened, while the supply chain is at risk of complete disruption as a result of the trade war between the United States and China, which had been escalated by the virus.

He urged that the crisis be treated with sincerity devoid of politics.

Nigeria’s payment system, he added, had a huge potential, which should be nurtured through collaboration and trust.

The CEO canvassed that banks and Fintechs must partner during these trying times as they are confronted by a common enemy.

“When trust comes in, people will collaborate,” he stated.

On her part, Onyejekwe, who hinted that about 42 million Nigerians have been activated on the Bank Verification Number (BVN), said COVID-19 has been unprecedented and brought series of challenges to the global economy.

The NIBSS Executive Director said bigger economies are coping while developing ones such as Nigeria were suffering.

She acknowledged that the pandemic had created higher unemployment, increased market volatility, and raised huge customer service issues.

Onyejekwe said it had been colossal losses for sectors including tourism, aviation, manufacturing, while industries like ICT/telecoms, logistics, foods and industry had benefited hugely.

To Adebisi, the insurance sector has been badly affected, indicating that Nigeria, and even the entire globe, were not prepared for crises.

The Axa Mansard chief, while calling for effective policy to manage the challenge, she pointed out that the most populous black nation was culturally challenged, “as many cultures, norms, among others, will impact or restrict further growth.”

In her contribution, the Pay Attitude chief, Regha, said the country needs a framework that encompasses all sectors of the economy.

She said with challenges of declining investment, lack of partnership and dwindling network of experts, the sector is still challenged.

According to her, the country needs to build a collaborative network of partners, including government, policymakers and business managers, to create a team.

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Constance Johnson E

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