The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has confirmed that the number of bank account owners with the Bank Verification Number (BVN) has risen to 57 million as at 31st March 2023.
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele made the confirmation on Tuesday while delivering his keynote address at the 34th Seminar of the Finance Correspondents and Business Editor, holding in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.
TheFact Daily reports that the BVN was introduced to prevent corruption, provide a transparent system of payment and effective account monitoring and to uniquely identify bank customers in order to eliminate any accidence of fraud.
Represented by the Director, Monetary Policy, Dr. Hassan Mahmoud, Emefiele said, the BVN has continued to feature in CBN’s KYC requirements as part of plans to ease the constraint associated with poor identification of banking customers.
He said, with a total enrollment of 57,431,355 as at 31st March 2023, the BVN was supporting the development of credit profiles for banking customers, which would assist in improving access to credit for credit-worthy borrowers by banks.
Emefiele said, the BVN has also helped the industry in investigating fraud and other related crimes, therefore, the apex bank has continued to support the aggressive enrollment of prospective banking customers in the informal sector onto the BVN system.
He said, the choice of this year’s theme: “Implementing a Robust Payment Architecture: Prospects, Opportunities and Challenges,” was not only appropriate and well-conceived but also timely, given the evolving role of a robust payment ecosystem in the stability, safety and soundness of the global financial system.
He said, as a deliberate policy towards ensuring easier, cheaper and faster means of payments, the CBN has continued to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the adoption of payment system instruments and channels, such as, the Bank Verification Number (BVN), the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), Regulatory Sandbox, Open Banking and the CBN Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira.
According to him, Nigeria’s payment ecosystem was ranked among the top ten in the world in terms of its sophistication and robustness, adding that Nigeria is currently the first country in the Continent and second in the world to have fully launched a live CBDC.
He however, highlighted weak social infrastructure, Activities of Unlicensed Entities, Cyber Threats and Fraud as some of the extant challenges faced by the Bank in implementing the payment initiatives.
He assured that the Bank would continue to adopt a collaborative approach to achieve minimal cybersecurity threats in the payments system, adding that a holistic mechanism for addressing cybersecurity threats requires policy and operational actions by all stakeholders.