The Finance Act's enactment in January 2020 was heralded as a milestone event due to the far-reaching amendments that it made to several tax statutes. The main amendments to the Stamp Duties Act are the introduction of electronic documents as chargeable instruments and provision for electronic receipts and stamping, which demonstrate the government's aim of increasing government revenue by considering the impact of technological advancements on commercial transactions.
The financial services and products offered in Nigeria have changed significantly in recent years as a result of scientific and technological innovation and ever-evolving consumer behaviour and needs. In turn, this has resulted in a proliferation of new fintech companies. Due to the value of the fintech sector and the impact that fintech companies and products have had on society, financial services regulators have been left to determine how best to regulate this industry.
A recent Federal High Court decision has raised doubts as to the legality of foreign currency-denominated facilities. The Central Bank of Nigeria Act makes it clear that the naira is the currency of payment for the domestic supply of goods and services in Nigeria. However, the designation of the naira as legal tender in Nigeria does not suggest that the use of any other currency as a medium of exchange within Nigeria is prohibited.
In a bid to promote a sound financial system and enhance access to financial services for low-income earners and the unbanked segments of the Nigerian population, the Central Bank of Nigeria recently issued the Guidelines for Licensing and Regulation of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria. The main objective of establishing PSBs is to enable high-volume, low-value transactions in remittance, micro-saving and withdrawal services in a secured technology-driven environment.
In view of the increasing focus on cybersecurity worldwide and the rise in cyber threats both in and outside Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria recently issued a draft risk-based framework and guidelines on cybersecurity for deposit money banks and payment service providers. The draft guidelines aim to complement and build on the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015 by promoting cybersecurity and protecting computer systems and networks and electronic communications.
The National Assembly is considering three bills to repeal and re-enact the key pieces of legislation that regulate the banking sector. Collectively, the bills provide for an increase in the Central Bank of Nigeria's autonomy and discretionary powers, an expansion of the banking regulation regime to accommodate electronic transactions and increased penalties for infractions, including the imposition of personal liability on bank officers and directors.