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NITDA mulls collaboration with CBN to drive regulation on emerging tech, digital payment

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In a move to ensure Nigeria Payments System gets more global recognition and is domestically utilised across the country, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, has restated the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Financial Institutions in the country to collaborate with the Agency in order to leverage emerging technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics to deepen digital payments.

Inuwa made this known during a panel discussion segment at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s 2023 Payments System Management Departmental Retreat programme.

The DG who was represented at the event by the National Director, of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), Engr Ya’u Garba, alluded to the fact that financial technology (FinTech) has so far shown immense ability in driving Nigeria’s performance in the industry and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), especially with the application of developmental regulation approach and enabling policies co-created by the tech ecosystem.

According to him, deepening collaborations with key stakeholders will fast-track the realisation of the goal, adding that upping the game in digital payments will not only continue to put Nigeria at the forefront as Fintech driven economy but will also enhance consumers’ user experience and help move many people out of poverty.

Responding to questions regarding Nigeria’s efforts toward dealing with the opportunities and threats posed by Artificial intelligence, Inuwa explained that the Federal Government had noticed that the trajectory of AI models which have moved from linearly to geometrical in proportions had in the previous administration, started working on Artificial intelligence Policy through the Agency which he said would be soon unveiled to the public.

Inuwa who also mentioned other policies of the Federal Government for the industry, maintained that the policies are start-up ecosystem-friendly.

While avowing that there is the need for measures to be deliberately taken to reap the benefits and forestall the impending threats of AI, Inuwa emphasised that NITDA will be working collaboratively with CBN as with others,  in regulating the AI space, stressing that if CBN adopts a particular technology, the potential of such tech to move quickly is high.

The NITDA boss told the audience that the Start-up Bill which was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by former President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2022 will address almost, if not all the bottlenecks plaguing the tech ecosystem.

The Fintech industry, according to Inuwa, is blazing the trail, but said there are a lot more to be tapped from, if AI is explored and exploited accordingly.

He went further to stress that the government needs to work with the United Nations, World Bank and others to see how they can help build the infrastructure for FinTech, in order to foster digital payments and possibly close the digital gap.

Earlier, while welcoming guests, the Director, of the Payments System Management Department, CBN, Musa Jimoh harped on the need to look into the future and embrace things that are contemporary to Nigeria and the world at large and ensure that all the thinking behind the Payments system should be hinged on how it can benefit the common man on the street.

The Retreat of Payments System Management Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria brought together payments industry experts and stimulated discussions around innovations in the Payments System space.

The retreat had as its main theme: “Future of Payments System: Opportunities, threats and propositions.

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