The Central Bank of Nigeria has kicked off its six region public sector enlightenment forum on the implementation of end-to-end electronic payment of all forms of government suppliers, taxes, salaries and pensions in the country.
This is part of efforts to ensure that its ambition towards enforcing electronic payment system in the country succeeds.
The public sector sensitisation forum is for both ministries and agencies in states and local governments across the country. It is spread across the six geo-political zones in the country. The South-west zone which consist of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekitii, Ondo, Ogun, and all local governments within the Zone held on Monday to be followed by the South-south zone which consist of Delta, Edo, Rivers, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and all local governments within the zone, will take place on November 30, in Port Harcourt, at Rachael Hotel.
The South-east zone, which consists of Enugu, Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, and all local governments within the zone, will take place on Friday, December 3, 2011 in Enugu.
The North-east zone, which consists of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Bauchi and all Local Governments within the zone, will take place on December 6, in Gombe.
The North-west zone, which consists of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Kastina, Kebbi, Sokoto and all Local Govern-ments within the zone, will take place on Thursday December 8 in Kaduna. North-Central zone which consist of Benue, Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Plateau, FCT and all local government areas within the zone will take place on December 13 in Abuja.
Those to attend include Commissioners of Finance, Accountants General, Directors of Finance and Supplies etc, all those involved in payments and collections in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Local Governments: Directors of Finance and Supplies, Directors of Personnel Management etc, Representatives of Banks and other Financial Institutions, Payment Solution and Service Providers (PSPs), Office of the Accountant-General of the federation (OAGF)
A notice signed by the Acting Director, Banking and Payment System Department, CBN, Mr. G.I Emokpae, said the campaign became pertinent due to the insufficient enthusiasm that had been displayed by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) towards the federal government directive that all payments made by MDAs should be made electronically.
The CBN explained: “Further to the presidential directive that with effect from January 1, 2009, all payments by MDAs and parastatals should be made electronically, the CBN introduced e-Manual as a short-term measure to ensure immediate compliance pending when the structures for an end-to-end process which does not allow for any manual electronic intervention in electronic payments processing are in place.
“Since that laudable directive was given, significant progress has been made in the general e-payment space.
However, the state government MDAs and parastatals seems to have found solace and settled into the proposed interim ‘e-manual’ and have not shown sufficient enthusiasm towards achieving end-to-end electronic payment processing, thereby hampering the full implementation of the e-payment initiative as originally conceived.”
The apex bank attributed the apathy that had trailed the policy to lack of awareness of workers in states and local governments’ MDAs, lack of basic e-payment infrastructure, lack of knowledge about alternative payment solution and services providers, amongst others.
“In order to address these challenges, the management of the CBN recently approved three important guidelines aimed at ensuring straight-through-process (STP) for electronic payments in both public and private organisations in Nigeria,” the banking sector regulator added. Attendance at these for a is highly recommended as participant would not only be enlightened but would have the opportunity to clarify any issue that may hinder the realization of the smooth take-off of end-to-end electronic payments in Nigeria.
The Central Bank of Nigeria and all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria would cease to process any payments requiring manual intervention from the cut-off date.