Remi Babalola, minister of state for finance, at the just concluded Card Expo Africa 2009 conference and exhibitions in Lagos, enjoined banks and ministries, departments and agencies of government to adhere to the policy on e-payment.
Represented by Felix Ogbera, special assistant (Technical), he said all federal government transactions requiring huge payments were required to be done electronically and not with cash or cheque instruments; urging all commercial banks to dishonour any cheque instrument drawn by ministries or any government agency.
“In this regards, all commercial banks have also been directed to dishonour any cheque instrument drawn by MDAs from January 1, 2009, because the MDAs have since been warned to desist from the practice.”
Recalling that the federal government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, had in January 2009 issued a policy that all government payments must be done electronically - a policy which was adopted by the government as part of measures to enhance accountability and transparency and to check corruption - Babalola noted that an effective oversight of the payments system landscape was crucial to achieving an efficient, safe, reliable and dependable system.
“The federal government is aware of the enormous requirements for effective implementation of the payment system and is fully committed to providing the right policy and enabling environment for the system to thrive.
“At the same time, experts in information technology and the financial sector must endeavour to find solutions to some of the serious challenges that had arisen from the usage of the electronic payment system in the country,” he said.
On data security, the minister stated that efforts must be made by IT experts to come up with a very formidable application to secure data in the system, prevent fraud and build confidence in the payment platforms.
He informed that government would continue to strengthen the financial reporting system, computerization of accounts and the e-payment system in all its ministries, departments and agencies; adding that accurate and adequate financial records are essential for Nigeria to meet its development needs as well as manage state resources and revenue effectively.