The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Judicial Institute (NJI) are deepening their collaboration in order to fortify electronic payment platforms, attract investors and generally fortify the economy.

The two bodies are holding a workshop for judicial officers and other stakeholders to bring them to speed with the mandate and operations of the apex bank and other latest developments in the finance ecosystem.

Delivering a keynote address at the opening of a workshop for judicial officers in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the themes and sub-themes of the event are expected to examine issues such as the mandate and operations of the CBN; the CBN’s banking relationship with the Federal Government and commercial banks; malpractices in Nigeria’s foreign exchange market; the Payments System Vision 2025 as well the Bank Verification Number Framework and its impact on electronic fraud.

“It is my hope that discussions on the topics will engender an appreciation of the Bank’s activities aimed at the formulation of sound monetary policy and the achievement of financial system stability.

“The importance of the judiciary to the economy is underscored by the fact that an efficient judicial system helps to strengthen confidence in our economy, which is required as part of our efforts to attract domestic and foreign direct investment. This is because investors are more willing to invest in jurisdictions where the rule of law takes prominence in shaping business and investment decisions. The judiciary helps to ensure that all parties adhere to legal and ethical standards, and individuals and businesses can seek relief through the law courts on violations of agreements. “They can also be sure that disputes will be treated swiftly and fairly in accordance with the prevailing laws.

“The presence of a fair and just legal system will help in attracting much-needed foreign investments. Such investments will help to reduce pressure on our foreign reserves, enhance monetary and price stability, and reduce exchange rate volatility”, he explained.

He added that the themes and sub-themes of the workshop are apt and germane to the current efforts of the apex bank towards attaining macro-economic and financial system stability, and in seeking to diversify our economy.

“The judiciary invariably contributes to the effectiveness of the monetary policy, financial system stability, economic growth, and development through their interpretation of statutes and sometimes giving effect to the acts of the Government and its agencies, where such statutes and acts relate to monetary policy, financial system stability, growth, and development”, he added.

Also speaking, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, said the workshop was designed to explore strategies that will aid the legal system in adapting to rapid and significant changes in the banking sector.

“We are currently witnessing a time of rapid technological advancements, particularly within the financial sector, where conventional practices are swiftly being displaced by digital products and services that offer unparalleled convenience and efficiency.

“One particular area of concern is the regulation of ‘Payment Service Banks’ (PSBs), which are licensed financial institutions providing fundamental banking services to the unbanked and underbanked populations through digital technological devices. These entities operate with lower capital requirements compared to traditional banks, making them more accessible to those who are financially excluded. However, their emergence necessitates a delicate balance between fostering innovation and ensuring consumer protection. As judicial officers, you must strike this balance by interpreting and applying the law to encourage financial inclusion while safeguarding consumer interests.

“I’m of the view that it is expedient to have a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory framework put in place by the Central Bank of Nigeria and juxtapose it with other relevant laws and regulations establishing the legal frameworks governing digital products and services. Notable examples include Cybercrime Act 2015; the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), and the BOFIA Act, 2007. These frameworks provide comprehensive directives concerning crucial aspects such as data protection, cyber security, and consumer protection in the context of digital activities.

“Certainly, these transformations when fully harnessed and managed will further strengthen our financial system in terms of providing new opportunities and thereby bringing stability and growth to the financial sector.

“The theme for this workshop, The Law and Modern Banking: Adaptation and Issues regarding Digital Products and Services; Regulation of Payment Service Banks and other Emerging Digital Payment Services, no doubt carries tremendous significance in our contemporary society”, the CJN explained.

Justice Ariwoola added that digital banking products and services have become an indispensable part of Nigerians’ daily lives, revolutionising how finances are managed, ranging from mobile banking apps to e-wallets. They offer limitless access to financial services, thereby promoting financial inclusion and empowering individuals to conveniently carry out financial transactions.

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