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CBN wants banks to step-up on IT standards

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The Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Information and Technology Standards Council is reviewing the IT standards blueprint in the banking sector.

The aim is to align the IT standards in the sector to current realities and trends in the financial sector.

The IT Standards Council, a body set up by the CBN, is also planning to drive an industry-wide remediation exercise on the gaps identified during the baseline assessment that was conducted on banks last year.

These were outcome of a meeting between the Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, and outgoing members of the IT Standards Council in Lagos on Friday.

The meeting was a forum where activities and achievement of the council in the last two years were discussed.

Barau reiterated that the mandate given to the council was an important one and would go a long way to driving the adoption of world-class IT standards in the Nigerian financial services industry, and enable the industry to reap the full benefits of its investments in information technology.

The current IT Standards Council, whose two-year tenure will end in May, was inaugurated by the former Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Mr. Tunde Lemo, in May 10, 2013, with the mandate to drive the adoption, implementation and compliance to industry IT standards in the Nigerian financial services industry.

The need to define IT Standards for the industry arose in 2010 during the Industry Infrastructure Transformation programme where the CBN in conjunction with the Bankers Committee sought to identify ways to reduce the significantly high cost to income ratios of banks within the industry and also improve operational efficiency.

The transformation programme is coordinated by the Shared Services Office of the CBN and is the driver of the collaborative strategic response of the industry to realise reduction in the industry annual cost base.

IT, a key driver of banking, was lagging behind in global best practices. It was limiting banking operating efficiency, cost effectiveness, regulatory information and risk management practices.

To address the gaps and provide guidelines for application and utilisation of information technology, industry IT standards were defined to articulate and provide a point of reference for the utilisation of IT.

The IT standards cut across different IT capability areas, namely information security, IT service management, systems availability and information exchange.

However, the CBN boss listed the achievements of the IT Standards Council within the last two years such as the release and publishing of the IT standards blueprint to the industry in January 2014 and hosting of the blueprint on the CBN website.

-Punch

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