The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Banking Association South Africa (BASA) have jointly agreed that that the issuing and the acceptance/collection of cheques will cease from 31 December 2020.
The Reserve Bank said this decision was taken due to the numerous challenges associated with the usage of cheques.
It said that these challenges include; A lengthy processing period; Fraud perpetrated through the issuing of cheques; Cheques as an expensive payment instrument; The restricted acceptance of cheques; Declining usage; Limited education and protection for the consumer; Ageing interbank cheque processing infrastructure; Impact of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) outbreak.
“In this regard, South African banks will not accept any cheques for deposit or encashment after 31 December 2020,” the Reserve Bank said.
WorldRemit Introduces Zero Fees for Nigerian Transfers
WorldRemit, a digital payments company, has announced the launch of its new zero percent pricing for international transfers to Nigeria.
The new lowered price allows customers to send more to family and friends in Nigeria with absolutely no fees and FX margins.
This major price drop forms part of a new pricing restructure and represents the largest pricing reduction in terms of the number of corridors for the business. The new zero percent pricing is in line with WorldRemit’s commitment to supporting remittance flows to Nigeria and helping the diaspora community to supplement and support family and friends back home.
The Economist reported in 2018, remittances to Nigeria totalled $24 billion while the Nigerian Federation Account reported receipts from crude oil sales, tax and custom collections totalling approximately $10.8 billion. This shows that the greatest export of Nigeria is actually Human Capital and not Oil. Through its innovative service offering, WorldRemit customers have been able to support family and friends with essentials, medical and educational needs.
Speaking on this announcement, Country manager, Nigeria and Ghana, WorldRemit, Gbenga Okejimi, said: “As a forward-thinking company, WorldRemit continues to seek opportunities and innovative ways to keep people connected around the world while offering them a top-class fast, safe and simple way to send international remittances.
“We believe in helping our customers to access and enjoy the rewards of their hard work and this initiative will ensure they are able to access value even as COVID-19 has financially affected those in both in the diaspora and at home.”
Director of Pricing at WorldRemit, Sam Talukdar, said: “One of our goals is to accelerate financial inclusion by reducing transaction costs to Sub-Saharan Africa, which remains the most expensive region for remittances.
“In the last 12 months, we have witnessed a strong uptick in new customers using our platform, which in turn has helped to drive down our overall costs. We are committed to making remittances more affordable, so we have shared our savings with our customers, allowing them to send more money for less.”
The global payments company enables senders in 50 countries to send money via the app or website to recipients in over 150 countries, where they can choose from multiple payout methods including bank deposits, Mobile Money, mobile airtime top-up and cash pick-up.
CBN Tasks Banks On Infrastructure Funding
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has stressed the need for banks to consider infrastructure financing to speed up the recovery of the economy which he expects to grow by 2 per cent by the end of the first quarter of next year.
Emefiele, in his remarks at the annual Bankers Conference in Lagos at the weekend, noted that Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million, should have a well-diversified economy that is not reliant on global oil prices.
According to him, a well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country.
To him, “Nigeria with a population of over 200 million people in spite of the talents and resources both human and natural resources that we have in the country came on its knees because countries refused to export medicine and even food to us.
“Nigeria should be a country with a well-diversified economy where we should not be sneezing because price of oil has come down. We should be a country, given the abundance of natural resources that should not catch cold when crude prices drop.”
With the decline in revenues due to federal and state government as a result of the drop in crude oil prices,he said, alternative ways of funding infrastructure are critical to generate sustained economic growth, adding that, , the cost of logistics is often seen as a significant impediment to the growth of businesses in the country.
“We believe that a well-structured infrastructure fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective,” he stressed.
Whilst assuring that the monetary and fiscal authorities are alive to their responsibilities to restore the economy back to recovery, he stressed that there is the need to find ways to insulate the economy from the impact of these shocks through diversification efforts.
He said: “with sustained implementation of our intervention measures, we do expect that the Nigerian economy could emerge from the recession by the first quarter of 2021. We also expect that growth in 2021 would attain 2 per cent.
“However, downside risks remain, as restoration of full economic activities, particularly in service related sectors, remains uncertain until a COVID vaccine is produced and made available to millions of people across the world.”
On the foreign exchange, he said, despite the exit of portfolio investors, activities in the foreign exchange market, particularly, in the Investors and Exporters window have peaked in some cases close to $200 million daily and an average of $150 million, as a result of CBN measure to sanitise activities in the forex market.
Noting that, with the external reserves currently above $35 billion and sufficient to cover over eight months of import of goods and services, Emefiele said, there is no cause for alarm. He, however, appealed to economic analysts that; “in the course of conducting their analysis of the Nigerian economy, they should realize that their public comments particularly if they are alarmist, create panic in our environment.
“We cherish their counsel but urge that they be more constructive in their pungent criticisms, which could hamper our efforts to return our country and economy back to recovery. When you overdramatize the problem, you create panic that slows the process of recovery. We confess that the problem we face today is of a global dimension. The global economy is challenged, just like the Nigerian economy.”
9PSB Will Drive Financial Innovation Among Youths And Women- CEO
L-R: Mr. Mohammed Edewor, Board Member 9PSB; Mr. Asega Aliga Board Member 9PSB; His Highness Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero and Branka Mracajac, CEO 9PSB at the launch of 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in Lagos State recently.
The CEO of 9PSB, Branka Mracajac said the goal of 9PSB to drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria.
She said the key mitigating strategy that would aid 9PSB in fulfilling the financial inclusion mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is by offering compelling products, seamless execution and excellent customer service.
“Financial innovation plays a unique role in fostering sustainable and equitable growth primarily among the unbanked and underbanked within the rural areas in Nigeria, and I am very optimistic that 9PSB will drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria. This is our goal at 9PSB. It is also why we are here. It is the difference we are committed to making in the Nigerian financial sector,” she said.
While acknowledging the impact of infrastructure deficit and geographical coverage limitations on progress made so far towards achieving financial inclusion in Nigeria, Branka said that the key mitigating strategy that 9PSB is bringing to the table is to create synergies between agent banking as an important driver of financial inclusion and a superior product mix.
Explaining further, Branka said, “9PSB will deploy a wide distribution network that will serve as a channel for financial education for rural and low-income consumers. This will enable them to conduct basic banking services like cash-in and cash-out transactions.”
The Nigerian banking sector has been set on a new innovative course with the launch of a digital lifestyle bank, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), the first of its kind in the financial industry.
Established with the aim of furthering financial inclusion in the country and providing financial services to Nigerians, who were previously excluded, the entrance of 9PSB as a digital lifestyle bank is designed to address critical challenges facing bank customers.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the launch of 9PSB, seasoned Fintech analysts and journalist such as Ashley Immanuel, Tunji Andrews, Tracia Ikponmwonba and Adejuwon Soyinka, offered suggestion that could bolster financial literacy and inclusion in rural and urban areas of Nigeria. The theme of the panel discussion was “Examining the challenges facing Nigerian banks and payment industry and how 9PSB can revolutionize the financial sector.”
9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in its uniqueness will leverage on its existing mobile and digital channels, offering a first of its kind wide network of agents as well as web and digital applications and physical structures to provide financial consumers with an experience novel to the Nigerian populace.
In his goodwill message at the event, Chairman Board of Directors, EMTS, parent company of 9PSB, HRH, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, stated that the launch of 9PSB is the beginning of an exciting chapter in the company’s growth agenda.
“We see 9PSB as yet another opportunity to serve 59 million unbanked adults through the deployment of financial services that will leverage on top mobile technology and distribution network to support the financial inclusion efforts of the Federal Government,” he said.
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