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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Experts advocate 5yr e-payment strategy for Nigeria

CONCERNED Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts have advocated for a five-year electronic payment (e-payment) strategic development plan for the nation by the government.

Experts, who made this call at the recently ended 6th edition of the West Africa Card Expo 2006, included Messrs Mac Atasie and Ayo Arise, the Managing Director, Netzon Limited, and Card Technologies respectively.

They pointed out that the five-year e-payment strategies would pave the way to chart a new course for the industry in Nigeria.

Also tagged ‘Vision 2010’ the strategy is probably to come up with a comprehensive developmental roadmap to leapfrog e-payment deployment and penetration in the country.

According to Mr. Atasie, this could take off as National e-Payment Stakeholders forum facilitating a guided framework, that would eventually recommend improvement to what is on the ground already.

He stressed that the group should be empowered to continually recommend e-payments initiatives to the regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Membership should be drawn from stakeholders and relevant regulatory organs of government and in ICT sector while honest brokers should be appointed as facilitators,” Mr. Atasie asserted.

The strategy, they also noted must encompass frameworks geared towards stimulating the adoption and usage of electronic payment products and services especially among the populace.

For Mr. Arise, card issuers, merchants as well as card holders have roles to play in managing likely fraud in the e-payment system, thus endorsing the call for outlined strategies to ensure growth in the country.

Just as relevant cybercrime laws should be put in place to allay the fears of the populace and international communities in transacting online with Nigerians.

They also called for dedicated fund to be mobilised from financial institutions in the country, similar to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) funds.

This will be channelled in promoting e-payments across various communication media.

Specifically, he advised card holders to be security conscious when using an Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and offered some tips including that users should never disclose personal identification (PIN), never use an ATM with blank screen, do not force your card into the card slot, stand close to the ATM and use your body and hand as a shield to make sure nobody sees your keying in your PIN.

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