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Payment Delay Caused by Remita Glitches, MD Denies Fault

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Nigerians are finding it difficult to make transactions through the Remita Retrieval Reference Number (RRR), a 12-digit code that is generated electronically, for making financial payments into the accounts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), LEADERSHIP has learnt.

This has lingered for the past two weeks, causing disruptions to businesses and collection process of government.

Remita is an online payment service provider owned by SystemSpecs, a financial services company.
The platform is used by federal government agencies to remit revenue into the treasury single account (TSA).
For instance, a businessman, James ( surname withheld) told LEADERSHIP that he has been going to the bank for about a week, to pay his bill into one of the MDAs, but could not due to network issue.

“Everytime I go to the bank, the teller would tell me to come the next day, as there is no network. This has really affected me,” he lamented.

Meanwhile, the managing director, Remita Payment Services Limited (RPSL), Deremi Atanda, has asserted that the platform is not responsible for the recent payment issues that Nigerians have been facing lately.

Explaining further, Atanda told LEADERSHIP that Remita is made up of multiple components, adding that the platform may be used for both debiting and crediting. “The platform can be used to collect money into a bank account or be utilized for payment, which entails debiting one’s account in any bank to make payments,” he stated.

While subscribers could either be an individual, merchant or corporate organization, the managing director said the main reason for subscribing to the platform, is to help them receive money, adding that they must indicate the bank account they want the money to go to.

“Some organisations implement what we call the Remita Payment Gateway, in that when their customers go to their websites, the Remita gateway interface will pop up to enable them to choose the payment options which ranges from debit card, USSD, mobile phone to mobile wallet.

“There are some merchants who do not have websites, in that case, customers will have to go to Remita website, look for the name of the merchant andselect the options of payment system that suit them and make payment.

Many of the universities for instance, have their portals that the students make payment. Many of them do not go to the bank. They just use their card or their mobile wallet,” he explained.

For some organisations, part of that payment gateway may indicate that their customers should pay into their accounts from a specific bank branch, Atanda stated, adding that, “In this instance, the customer will get a code called Remita Retrieval Reference Number (RRR), a 12-digit code that is generated electronically, used for making financial payments.

“With the RRR code payment option, there is already a specific amount customers had to payand the account details to pay into, in that anywhere you go to in Nigeria, once you present it, nobody can change that amount, the name of the beneficiary and the bank details including the bank account into which it will go. This is specifically made for government customers,” he added.

Reasons for glitches

Payment issues might arise for a variety of reasons when a customer visits a bank branch to make a payment, Atanda said, who also mentioned the possibility of a network failure during that transaction. As everyone knows, there might be challenges in connectivity across bank branches, he posited.

Another reason could be technology related challenges, the MD said, while citing example of telecommunications network. “At other times, it may be a break in transmission which is not uncommon across different applications. There may not be connection between the two applications (between the bank and Remita). These are normal glitches that can happen in the financial sector,” he added.

He however appealed to Merchants and MDAs to inform Remita if they are having payment issue with a particular bank branch. “Such information can be shared with Remita for further investigation. Our first move will be to look at the unique code. We will investigate how many attempts have been made so far and what may be responsible.

“We may further ascertain if the RRR code is still valid for transaction, because there is an expiration time attached to each RRR code,” Atanda appealed.

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