Promoter of Remita platform used by the federal government for its Treasury Single Account (TSA), Systemspecs Limited has said they are on the same page with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to intensify electronic payments and reduce heavy reliance on cash in Nigeria this year.
Managing director, Systemspecs Limited, Mr. John Obaro, said that although Nigeria still has a long way to go in replacing its cash-based economy with a cashless system, the apex bank is working with stakeholders to enthrone a culture of cashless economy through various initiatives this year.
Obaro, assessing the cashless initiative since its inception and how Remita platform has helped CBN in achieving this policy said, “I would say we have not got there yet, but a lot of changes have taken place in the e-payment system and that has helped the economy to grow to a large extent.
“Although we have not reached where we would love to be as a country, the truth is that there has been significant growth driven by the cashless initiative of the CBN. A lot has happened in the last four years of e-payment in the country,” he said.
Obaro added that today, lots of transactions are done online and people no longer carry cash in cartons and bags because they know that they can now transact electronically. “Yes, people still do a lot of withdrawals using their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, and I do not see this as a true cashless practice. But I see the use of ATM cards declining in the near future.
He said before Remita came on board with the TSA project, CBN had actually written to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to get an electronic payment solution to implement the TSA project, but the solution was not available as at then. “It was two years later that government knew about Remita and invited us to a bidding process. Remita has made it possible for government to pay into diverse accounts from a single account. Now we have a platform that is making very complex electronic transactions very easy.
“Today, we are gradually shifting towards that vision, which is all about financial technology (FinTech). Now we are using technology to address financial issues and this is a big market for Nigeria. Like the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), we see financial technology as what will redefine economies worldwide in the coming years and it will cut across many industries.
“We are innovating as technology keeps evolving. Organizations and individuals must make payments and these payments rest on financial technology, and that is what will redefine the software industry. The banks for instance are beginning to work closely with the financial technology industry because it makes their transactions more efficient. Also, financial technology will make investors make more informed decision about their businesses,” he said.