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Lagos State Goes Truly Digital,Partners with Interswitch to Provide Omni-Channel Digital Payment Solutions to Lagosians

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As part of the Lagos State Government’s strategic vision to embrace a digital future through the adoption of innovative technology and processes across all spheres of governance and public-sector service delivery, His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Executive Governor of Lagos State announced on Monday, February 19 that effective from the 1st of March 2018, the State Government will fully digitize revenue collection in partnership with Interswitch.

 

In announcing this strategic partnership with Interswitch, which is reputed to be one of Nigeria’s leading financial technology and electronic payment drivers, Governor Ambode stated that the government’s vision is to actualize extensive adoption of electronic channels in the payment of taxes, levies and other government payments.

 

This is with a view to expeditiously improve on the effectiveness of service delivery to residents of the State whilst ensuring greater accountability in line with the vision of the current administration in Lagos State.

 

Governor Ambode, In a statement announcing the partnership, revealed that “to ensure that the government improves on the quality of service delivery to our people, effective 1st March 2018, no payment or taxes will be made by cash henceforth across the State.

 

“Tax payers should be able to pay all legitimate taxes and bills through all payment channels at their own time and convenience.

 

“The transaction process is now going to be everyday, anytime and on weekends.”

 

Explaining further on what informed the Lagos State Government’s resolution to partner with Interswitch to digitize payments and collections in Lagos, Governor Ambode added that “Interswitch has been at the forefront of efficient and secure public sector payments and collections at National and State levels for quite a while now, and we are confident in their ability to provide strong support and the state-of-the-art payment infrastructure, comparable to such obtainable anywhere in the world as well as the capabilities required to facilitate seamless implementation of this policy in a state like Lagos.”

 

Interswitch has equally expressed a commitment to providing omni-channel payment infrastructure which will facilitate seamless transaction processes in revenue collection to make it easy and convenient for the good people of Lagos who can now pay every day, any time and online.

 

In a statement credited to Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, Interswitch “Over the last few years, we have invested extensively in building and continuously developing a variety of payment channels which facilitate real-time transaction through any means desirable by all parties within the payment process.

 

“Our vision at Interswitch is an Africa where payment becomes a seamless part of our everyday lives, and we are resolutely committed to working with Lagos State to embrace a fully digital future, in line with our resolve to continue to create digital transaction solutions that enable individuals and communities prosper across Africa.”

 

In view of this partnership with the LASG, government payments will now be possible through multiple channels including physical payments in any branch of any bank, and using Interswitch solutions such as Interswitch Paydirect, Interswitch Payment Gateway, Quickteller Paypoint, and Mobile Apps/USSD codes of LASG MDAs, thereby encouraging real-time cashless payments directly to the State Treasury. 

 

Observers have lauded this development as a welcome breakthrough in public sector finance, accountability and service-delivery as it essentially underscores the unwavering and forward-thinking dynamism of the Lagos State Government, with effective public-private collaboration at its heart.

 

Interswitch is extremely delighted to collaborate on this partnership and is excited to embark on a fruitful and constructive relationship with the Government. 

 

A statement from the company stated that “Going into the implementation of this, Interswitch will ensure that the full-breadth of our multi-layer platforms would henceforth be deployed for use by all government Ministries, Agencies, Parastatals, Associated Companies and Units.

 

“Interswitch is also committed to continuous innovation to ensure the provision of new and easier payment channels, particularly leveraging such platforms as direct payment from mobile phones.

 

“To facilitate the required awareness, enlightenment and consumer education across all segments of the population across the state, Interswitch is also fully committed to working very closely with the LASG and its relevant agencies with a view to driving adoption and uptake, from the perspective of all stakeholders who need to be engaged – the state civil service and MDAs as well as businesses operating within the state, general public etc.”


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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E-Financial

NAICOM Urges State Governments to Implement Compulsory Insurance

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The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, is seeking collaboration especially from State Governments on implementation and enforcement of compulsory insurance.

Speaking during a meeting with the Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, the Commissioner for Insurance Sunday Thomas, noted that over the years, the Commission has embarked on series of programs aimed at a nationwide massive public enlightenment with respect to compliance with the laws on compulsory insurance.

As a subset of the Financial Services Industry, Insurance industry is a pivot to guarantee the sustainability of growth and development of the State and its people, said Thomas, adding, We have therefore noted the necessity to plant “Insurance” and “People” at the center of any equation that tends to create, enhance, sustain and manage growth and development in any economy.”

He said: “As a people, human activities have associated risks and in spite of every precautionary measure to avoid the occurrence of losses or damages, the unexpected still occur.

“In consequence of the losses the victims are prone to sufferings which in many cases may lead to total impoverishment of a large proportion of those affected. To ameliorate the situation of victims, laws have been put in place for an arrangement that will ensure that victims and especially third parties are adequately compensated.”

According to him, “the objectives of protecting third parties and relieving the government of the avoidable burden of compensation from the meagre wallet of the government led to the enactment of various laws on compulsory insurance products”.

Thomas listed the Compulsory Insurances to include, all buildings under construction that are more than two (2) floors (builders liability); all Public Buildings including Schools, offices, hotels, hospitals, markets (occupiers liability) etc; Group Life Insurance for all Employees of both Public and Private Sectors; Professional Indemnity for all Medical Practitioners and Third Party Motor Vehicle Insurance in respect of death, injury or damage to the property of third parties.

The Commissioner added that it is on the strength of the above that the Commission is seeking collaboration with the State government in the enforcement of the above mentioned compulsory insurances in the State.

“As the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum there is no better place to start the campaign than Ekiti State.” he said.

He also highlighted the benefits of this collaboration with State Governments, which include, Financial Compensation to the families of insured citizens who may become victims of a disaster through loss of their properties or become disabled in event of occurrence of insured accidents/disasters, robust group life insurance policy made compulsory by the Pension Reform Act 2014 gives hope to the workforce who will be ready to go extra mile in carrying out assign duties knowing fully well that the employer has made provision for the dependant in event of the unexpected and creation  of employment opportunities for citizens of the State.

Others are provision of grants and Fire-Fighting Equipment for the States’ Fire Services by NAICOM from the Fire Fund as stipulated in the Insurance Act 2003, reduction in the government expenditure in event of disaster that may affect the citizens of the State by shifting the burden to the risk-bearers (Insurance Companies), free Insurance and Risk Management Education and Enlightenment programme for the citizens of the State; and creation of additional source of internally generated revenue (IGR) for State Government in collaboration with your relevant Ministries and Agencies.

He therefore appealed to the Governor to graciously consider the benefits of the proposed collaboration for the enrichment of the State and the sustainability of the Nigeria economy at large.

The Commissioner also requested the Governor to domesticate the compulsory insurances in the State and create a structure that can be supported by NAICOM in the enforcement of the compulsory insurances and also nominate an Agency of the Government that will serve as liaison office with the Commission in this collaboration.

“The nominated agency may be requested to work with the Team of the state who shall be dedicated to this collaboration and recommend appropriate measure to domesticate the enforcement of the compulsory insurances in the State.” he said.


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CBN Disburses N3.5tr COVID-19 Intervention Cash

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had disbursed N3.5 trillion to different sectors of the economy to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

CBN Disburses N3.5tr COVID-19 Intervention Cash

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

It will also contribute N1.8 trillion into the N2.30 trillion Federal Government’s one-year Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) through its Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs).

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor stated this on Tuesday after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

Emefiele gave a breakdown of who got what out of the N3.5 trillion COVID-19 intervention as follows: Real Sector (N216.87 billion); COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility (N73.69 billion); Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (N54.66 billion); Pharmaceutical and Health Care Support (N44.47 billion); and Creative Industry Financing (N2.93 billion).

Under the Real Sector Funds, Emefiele said: “a total of 87 projects that include 53 manufacturing, 21 agriculture and 13 service projects were funded.

He added: “In the health care sector, 41 projects which include 16 pharmaceuticals and 25 hospital and health care services were funded.”

The CBN boss also said: “Under the Targeted Credit Facility, 120,074 applicants received financial support for investment capital.

“The AGSMEIS intervention has been extended to a total of 14,638 applicants, while 250 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), predominantly the youth, have benefited from the Creative Industry Financing Initiative.”

Emefiele said in addition to  the  initiatives, the   apex bank “is set to contribute over N1.8 trillion of the total sum of N2.30 trillion needed for the one year  ESP, through its various financing interventions using the  PFIs.”


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Banks Fingered in $2trn Dirty Money Scam

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Some of the world’s top banks have been found to be complicit in aiding criminals move $2 trillion in dirty money around the world, according to leaked government files.

Banks Fingered in $2trn Dirty Money Scam

The exposition was done by Buzzfeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a group that brings together investigative journalists from around the world, which distributed them to 108 news organisations in 88 countries.

In the revealing documents, they said: “global banks including JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, among others defied money laundering crackdowns by moving staggering sums of illicit cash for shadowy characters and criminal networks that have spread chaos and undermined democracy around the world.”

It was also revealed that they kept profiting from these powerful and dangerous players even after the United States authorities fined these financial institutions for earlier failures to stem flows of dirty money.

FinCEN is the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. These are the people at the US Treasury who combat financial crime. Concerns about transactions made in US dollars need to be sent to FinCEN, even if they took place outside the US.

Known as the FinCEN files, these are more than 2,600 documents which banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017 which help show that these banks raise concerns about what their clients might be doing.

They have also been regarded as some of the international banking system’s most closely guarded secrets.

Some of what has been found so far showed that JPMorgan, the largest bank based in the United States, moved money for people and companies tied to the massive looting of public funds in Malaysia, Venezuela and Ukraine, the leaked documents reveal.

The bank moved more than $1 billion for the fugitive financier behind Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal, the records show, and more than $2 million for a young energy mogul’s company that has been accused of cheating Venezuela’s government and helping cause electrical blackouts that crippled large parts of the country.

JPMorgan also processed more than $50 million in payments over a decade, the records show, for Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump. The bank shuttled at least $6.9 million in Manafort transactions in the 14 months after he resigned from the campaign amid a swirl of money laundering and corruption allegations spawning from his work with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

It was also revealed that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates used Barclays bank in London to avoid sanctions which were meant to stop him from using financial services in the West. Some of the cash was used to buy works of art.

HSBC allowed fraudsters to transfer millions of dollars around the world even after it had learned of their scam, leaked secret files show.

Britain’s biggest bank moved the money through its US business to HSBC accounts in Hong Kong in 2013 and 2014.

The United Arab Emirates’ central bank failed to act on warnings about a local firm which was helping Iran evade sanctions.

Deutsche Bank moved money launderers’ dirty money for organised crime, terrorists and drug traffickers.

Standard Chartered moved cash for Arab Bank for more than a decade after clients’ accounts at the Jordanian bank had been used in funding terrorism.

The FinCEN Files represent less than 0.02 per cent of the more than 12 million suspicious activity reports that financial institutions filed with FinCEN between 2011 and 2017.

Mr Fergus Shiel from ICIJ said the leaked files were an “insight into what banks know about the vast flows of dirty money across the globe”. He said the documents also highlighted the extraordinarily large amounts of money involved.


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