CBN Has Achieved A Lot In Payment System Vision 2020 ––Barua

Alhaji Suleiman Barau, is the Deputy Governor, Central Bank Of Nigeria, (CBN) Corporate Services
and Coordinator. In this interview with LUCY EZELIORA, he speaks on Financial System Strategy (FSS), for 2020, the benefits and incentives available for the listing of foreign companies in the Nigeria
International Financial Center:
What are the milestones so far achieved and the Challenges of Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020?
In measuring the milestone of Financial System Strategy 2020 so far achieved, we have to look at them from different existing sectors. For Mortgage Sector, a robust secondary mortgage has been created with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Mortgage operators
has been clearly streamlined and this has led to the establishment of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing
Company (NMRC). Again, the Uniform Underwriting
Standard which was non-existent has now been codified and introduced in the Mortgage Industry to regulate their practice. In addition, the framework for the Mortgage Asset Registry has been developed to capture Mortgage transactions on a common Information
Technology (IT) platform. The CBN has also introduced the categorization of Primary Mortgage Banks into National, State and Local. The Pension asset
has grown from about N3 Trillion in 2013 to N6.02 Trillion in 2017. The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has been appointed advisers to manage the deployment of Pension funds into long- term infrastructure deployment. Through sensitization
and mass advocacy, the pension commission (PenCom) has stepped up prompt settlement of pension
claims for retirees and is embarking on massive technical trainings, using the IT platform to ensure prompt service delivery and implementation of the Micro pension scheme. For the Insurance Sector, The Micro insurance (Takaful) and compulsory insurance schemes are being implemented. Also, improvement in the settlement of insurance claims of policy holders is being pursued as Confidence and trust of the holders
which was at lowest ebb have now been restored. There is also capacity building of insurance and inclusion
of insurance in the school curriculum for prompt service delivery. For MSME sector, thwere have been several interventions to improve funding and access to finance for Small Businesses. Also creation of the National Collateral Registry for lendings and access to finance by SMEs is a huge milestone, especially with the passage of the Secured lending using movable assets Bill by the National Assembly (NASS).
Notwithstanding this milestone, there are some challenges militating against the achievements of FSS2020 objectives including,
but not limited to ,the following- Funding and logistics, technical challenges, Human Capital Development, especially the inability to attract talent from abroad to Nigeria, delays in the passage of the identified financial sector bills by the NASS is a drawback, policy inconsistency and lack of continuity.
What kind of benefits and incentives are available for the listing of foreign companies in the Nigeria International Financial
Center?
It is envisaged that the IFC will be a country within a country
with its municipal laws to be dictated by its necessity with the following incentives likely to be derived from any investor within the center namely: Competitive corporate and tax rates,
competitive Value Added Tax (VAT) on product and services,
currency convertibility, flexible expatriate quota limit, one stop shop approach to business registrations and other permits, 100 per cent repatriation of funds, access to Nigeria double taxation treaties, 100 per cent foreign ownership permitted, low cost quality information
services and internationally accepted investment regulations.
The Financial System Strategy 2020 initiative involves
numerous stakeholders whose contributions are vital to the realization of the goals. In what ways are their efforts impacting on the financial system’s value chain?
The FSS2020 is just a platform that brings together all the key implementing institutions to achieve a common objective in the financial system. Since actual implementations
are being done by these agencies, our attempt
is to identify where there are challenges or issues or duplication of efforts. FSS2020 calls the attention of the affected institution to address it in the overall interest
of the financial system. The FSS2020 initiatives were carefully tailored to align with the mandate of these institutions
that have the responsibility to implement the identified initiatives which is within the realm of the FSS2020 objectives. For Instance, CBN has achieved a lot in the areas of Payment System Vision 2020 which is an Initiative of the FSS2020 along with the cashless policy. In the same vein, SEC has been successful in the implementation
of the E-dividend policy which has always been one of the initiatives FSS2020 had been advocating,
and so many others. Also, the funding of FSS2020 Programme had been solely the borne by the CBN, until recently when some of the implementing institutions like PenCom have started making contribution to the funding of the FSS2020 activities ,with others showing interest to do same. Most of the implementing institutions
have been providing technical assistance to the running of the programme in the areas they are more specialized.
What do you think the government can do to make the implementation of the initiatives successful?
Initiate policies that will ease the doing of business in Nigeria and encourage investments within the country; ensure that there is enabling infrastructure and guarantee
maximum peace and security in the country. Also the development plan of government must have bearing with the needs and realities of the citizenry especially issues of unemployment, micro-economic stability and capacity building in all sectors of the economy.