The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given all banks 18 months to begin and conclude the biometric registration of all customers across the country.
The apex bank weekend launched the Bank Verifi¬cation Number (BVN) for biometrics identification of customers in the financial industry aimed at revolu¬tionising the payment sys¬tem in the country.
Biometrics uses one’s physical characteristics such as iris, finger print, voice or veins that ensure your real self.
Biometrics are electronic verification tools for on¬line and mobile banking that offer unique customer identification which gives unchangeable identification that helps in Know Your Customer (KYC).
The introduction of bio¬metric authentication is target¬ed at addressing cyber crime, ATM fraud and other kinds of financial frauds as well as to safeguard customers’ funds to avoid losses through compro¬mise of Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).
Responding to journal¬ists immediately after the launch, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of CBN, said the apex bank would next week issue circulars to banks to inform their customers to come in and register for the biometrics, saying the registration at¬tracts no charges.
On the issue of theft, Sa¬nusi said, “I have just regis¬tered. This is my card. My biometric data is on this card. My picture is on this card, no¬body can steal this identity”.
He said customers can register anywhere whether with the banks or agents, adding that once registered, one cannot register again as the verification will show it.
In his opening remarks, Ade Shonubi, the managing director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), whose company provides the connectivity service, said that the initia¬tive represented a major landmark in the Bankers’ Committee’s efforts at pro-moting financial inclusion drive and deal with money laundering in the system.
Godwin Emefiele, the managing director of Ze¬nith Bank and chairman, Bankers’ Committee sub-committee on biometrics project, said that he was excited that the group met the project deadline.
Nigerian domestic payments infrastructure benefits from SWIFT’s security, reliability and resilience and is ready for interoperability in Africa and beyond.
Johannesburg,17 February 2014 – The Central Bank of Nigeria’s high value payment system has gone live on SWIFT. The move to SWIFT is a key element of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Payment System Vision 2020 (PSV2020), which calls for a “Nationally Utilised and Internationally Recognised” payments system and provides a robust platform to support Nigeria’s continued economic growth.
The adoption of SWIFT for the infrastructure of Nigeria’s high-value payments via its Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system will support improvements in interoperability of the country’s financial infrastructure, helping to improve settlement security and eliminate risk. SWIFT connectivity ensures Nigeria complies with global standards for critical payment infrastructure as set out by the Bank for International Settlements, providing the Nigerian financial system with a future-proof payments infrastructure and helping Nigeria to integrate with other financial markets in the region and globally.
Dipo Fatokun, Director, Banking & Payments System Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, said: “The importance of the payments system in any market economy cannot be over-emphasized. In particular, the link between the efficiency of the payments system, the effectiveness with which monetary policy is conducted, the soundness of the financial sector and, indeed, the overall performance of the economy is very strong. Thus, central banks the world over have more than cursory interest in the development of payments and settlement systems.“ The move by the CBN mirrors those of leading payment systems around the world and In Africa. Nigeria is the 20th country in Africa to adopt SWIFT for its domestic payments as well as its international payments infrastructure. Globally, clearing and settlement systems in more than 90 countries, carrying more than 240 million payments a year, already rely on SWIFT.
Nigerian stocks posted the largest decline in the world last Friday as declining naira led to selloff by foreign investors.
Week-on-week (wow), the stock market lost N643billion from the value of equities listed on the main-board.
The market capi¬talisation of listed equi¬ties which stood high at N13.070trillion at the beginning of trad¬ing last week declined to N12.427trillion at the close of deals on the bourse.
Likewise, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All Share Index (ASI) which opened last week at 40,773.50 points declined to 38,767.29 points, indicat¬ing a decline of 5.18 percent or 2,006.21 points in just one week.
Analysts say the de¬cline witnessed in the stock market last week was the biggest weekly de¬cline since June. Dangote Cement plc, the market’s biggest company by capi¬talisation, dropped a fourth day, slipping 0.1 percent to N234.70. Guaranty Trust Bank plc , the largest lender, fell to the lowest level since September 18, retreating 5 percent to N24.73.