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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ekuwem, others condemn CBN's patronage of foreign entities

The group chief executive officer, Teledom International, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, has joined his voice to the clamour for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to patronize local firms in their dealings in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) subjects.

This is coming as several other ICT experts in Nigeria had expressed displeasure with the decisions of Nigerian government agencies including CBN preference to foreign firms on local projects.

ITRealms gathered that the latest burst was on the heels of CBN's recent pronouncement to work with a foreign firm on the banking industry biometric solutions project recently entered with German company call Demalorg BMS.

With this deal, CBN plans to gain a more reliable, technology driven, fraud-free banking services delivery and based on the terms, the first phase of the project would connect the Central Data point to at least one branch of each bank, the Central Bank and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), within 90 days; after which the second phase, which will ensure full capture of biometric details of all bank customers nationwide, expected to come on stream within the next 12 months.

The project estimated to cost about $50 million, is expected to provide a centralised platform through which banks could enroll and uniquely verify the identity of each customer for 'know your customer' KYC purposes, perform credit checks, verify customer's integrity and authenticate customers from a point of transaction tools.

For CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the project symbolizes a major landmark in the Bankers Committee's efforts aimed at promoting financial inclusion, expansion of banking services, access to credit and more importantly, dealing with Know Your Customer (KYC), money laundering and other challenges the industry is still contending with.

Responding to this deal, Dr. Ekuwem decried the actions of CBN, pointing out that when one export, the Naira is strengthened but when you import, the Naira is devalued.

“When you export, the Naira is strengthened but when you import, the Naira is weakened" he declared, arguing that organizations, especially Federal Government agencies should maximise local human resources and talents.

In addition, Ekuwem advised foreign ICT firms in Nigeria to set up plants and assembly companies in the country, so as to aid employment.

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