27 July 2015, Lagos – Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) has explained why bank customers in Diaspora have to pay to enrol for the Biometric Verification Number (BVN). Meanwhile the company said that over 18 million bank customers have registered for the Biometric Verification Number (BVN). Managing Director/Chief Executive, NIBSS, Mr. Ade Shonubi disclosed this at a press briefing on the BVN enrolment exercise for Nigerian bank customers in Diaspora.
Addressing the uproar that greeted the use of an external consultant for BVN enrolment of Diaspora bank customers, Shonubi said that NIBSS decided to engage Online Integration Services (OIS) as external consultants due to limitation of data privacy laws, time and resources. “In many countries, the law does not permit data of their citizens from being captured and store outside the country. So the first thing we considered was what can be done legally and by whom.
And we did some research on who supports Nigerian embassies in gathering data for visa application, for passport renewal application because by law they are covered and allowed to gather that data, and under that premise can we also get them to help us with the BVN and that was how Online Integration Services (OIS) came into being. The company has been in existence for long, they are in many countries, and they have been doing this in association with the Nigerian government.
“The next thing is the cost. The reality is that we have limited options. Option number one is, we get up here we go there, even if we are allowed, we have to send people there, rent space, put network infrastructure in place that is securely connected to NIBSS and then put devices in place. “So they have committed their own resources.
And the conversation we had with them started with, this is however much we charge, the services we are providing is very similar to the Nigerian government when people want to renew their Nigerian passport, or when they want to get visa, we charge them £50, and this is verifiable. And we told them, you can’t charge £50 for BVN enrolment, and somehow we arrived at £30.
This is because a lot of the things they are using are not the same. They don’t use the same application they have been using for capturing your visa application request. They have to set up a separate secure one for us. They are the ones incurring this cost and they are not paying us one kobo. There is nothing that comes to us in any shade, form, or manner. We just told them, recover your cost. And they have agreed to go to countries that don’t have Nigerian banks. They are going to China, India, and we have two or three locations in U.S.
*Babajide Komolafe – Vanguard