Sustaining cash-less economy through identity data management

WITH the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cash-less economy initiative gradually getting rooted in Lagos and hope of nationwide extension becoming visible, though in phases from January 1, 2013, concerns about sustenance of the project stirs it in the face.

Indeed, in the last eight months, there has been a significant shift in the way businesses are conducted in many parts of Lagos. The use of cash as an exchange for goods and services is gradually being replaced with the Internet to accommodate a host of online services, just like it is being done in the advanced economies.

As buyers and sellers increasingly transact business miles away from each other, there has been an increased demand by both parties for alternate means of payment. The recent modes of payment include point of sales (PoS), electronic payments; mobile payment, debit card, credit card, automated teller machine (ATMs) among others.

Transactions today are carried out on electronic networks, which instantly debit the account of the payer and credit the payee. A CBN official put daily transactions on the Point of Sales (PoS) terminals in Lagos as at June 2012 at over N200 million, while transactions on the Nigeria Instant Payment by the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) was put at N40 billion daily.

The concept of cash-less society has been implemented in many countries especially in the developed economies where the citizens are inclined to the use of technology. Like the CBN has reiterated, one major advantage in Nigeria, aside ensuring globalisation, was the issue of cost reduction, especially in governances.

The CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi believes that its implementation and sustenance will put Nigeria on the path of progress, drive financial inclusion and reduce the pang of corruption on the country.

Be that as it may, the issue of sustenance, transactions identity management/insecurity; tools management, right strategies were among the issues, which took the centre stage at the 24th National Conference of the Nigeria Computer Society in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, with the theme: “Towards a Cash-less Nigeria: Tools and Strategies.”

Before now, analysts had raised several issues about the legitimacy of transactions done online, stressing that identity theft or scams have become the order of the day, even in the so called developed nations, further exacerbating fear of security breaches.

While not exonerating Nigeria from this potential threat, the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Chris Onyemenam, who spoke at the NCS conference, advocated the need for a reliable identity database and its adoption in the financial services sector to reduce fraud and ensure transparency of transactions.

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