There is no doubt that Information Communications Technology ICT has changed the way of life today especially the financial services in Nigeria, despite the fact that the country has not been able to successfully transformed into a cashless economy as envisaged, the ICT sector has, however, made a giant stride towards supporting the economy, which lately explained its current position as the highest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Led by the Nigerian Communication commission (NCC), the ICT sector has not in a small way contributed to the recent growth in the financial sector despite the Covid-19 pandemic, especially during the lockdown. With the Internet, as a global communications network, the ICT space has been made available for financial institutions to form electronic market and supply of many new services which have a huge impact on business and society. Hence, bringing financial institutions in Nigeria at par with its counterpart in developed economies to deliver efficient and borderless services.
The role of NCC as the Telecom services regulator has been immense and has contributed to the growth of internet and mobile phone use in the country.The NCC functions as derived from Section 3 of the NCA Act of 2003, include; Issuing of licenses and imposition of terms and conditions on licences, Approving guidelines for keeping of accounts and cost allocation formula of licensees, Inspection of licensees’ books of accounts, Granting or revoking of permits for connection of customer equipment.
The NCC currently under the leadership of Professor Umar Garba Danbatta has not shirk from these responsibilities. It is there efficiency in carryingout its mandate that has created enabling environment for the sector to tthrive.
The development of the ICT sector and its efficiency is what the financial services sector has leveraged on to deploy digital services.
Telecoms created opportunities in the banking and e-payment systems, which have been accelerated by the COVID- 19 era sweeping across the world. Many Nigeria’s retail franchise, especially banks did not feel the impact of the coronavirus much as they regularly engaged their customers electronically.
Besides, the new normal gave Transactions on electronic channels also rose astoundingly as new customers continue to be attracted to the Banks’ various user-friendly digital platforms.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the banking sector recorded a total volume of 3.46 billion transactions via electronic payment channels, amounting to N356.47 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020). The figure represents a N36.48 trillion increase (11 percent) from N319.99 trillion posted in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020).
According to the report titled, ‘Selected Banking Sector Data: Sectorial Breakdown of Credit, ePayment Channels and Staff Strength (Q4 2020)’, released recently, online transfers accounted for the bulk of transactions during the period under review.
The data showed that online transfers accounted for 2.27 billion volume of transactions, valued at N120.27 trillion. The volume in Q4 2020 is 39.67 percent higher than figures recorded in Q3 2020.
Further analysis of electronic payment channels show that 5.5 million volume of transactions were done through cheques valued at N4.2 trillion during the period under review.
Automated teller machine (ATM) transactions recorded 455.25 million volume valued at N4.54 trillion in Q4 2020.
The volume, however, declined 14.11 percent compared to the number of transactions recorded in Q3 2020.
A total of 214.84 million transactions were done using point of sale (POS) transactions, valued at N1.51 trillion during the year.
The volume of transactions through unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) surged 9 percent in Q4 2020 at 145.58 million valued at N1.63 trillion.
Transactions over mobile applications also increased by 10.80 percent in Q4 2020 at 124 million value at N9.9 trillion.
The figures above illustrate the giant stride the ICT sector has taken, which can be attributed to effective supervision of Telecom services by the NCC and should this stride be pushed further, then it won’t be long for the country to fully go cashless without much a