Adebayo Adelabu

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has called on banks to collaborate with financial technology companies (Fintechs) to improve the level of financial inclusion in the country.

The Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu made this call in an address delivered in Abeokuta, Ogun State at the 2017 annual retreat of the Committee of E-Business Industry Heads (CeBIH) held recently.

Speaking on the theme: “Repositioning Digital Payments to achieve the Financial Inclusion goals of Financial System Strategy,” Adelabu also called on CeBIH and banks to be innovative in evolving options to meet the demand of the unbanked at reasonable price to them.

He said: “As you are aware, the payments services are the channel for extending other financial services to users. The scale of transactions that we can drive through digital channels is therefore a compelling business case for you to increase investment in this segment of banking business. This business case, as you may have observed, is driving the interest of FinTechs into your terrain and failure to be agile in responding, not necessarily by stifling the space but by collaborating with the new entrants will impact you negatively.

“I therefore urge you to take this challenge and respond appropriately as other financial services providers outside the banking industry are waiting on the payments system to enable the extension of their services to the un-served and underserved.”

In his opening remarks, CeBIH Chairman, Mr. Dele Adeyinka noted that 10 years after the launching of the Payment System Vision (PSV) 20:2020 with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) as its central theme, a significant number of eligible Nigerians are still outside of the financial system.

“Today, it can be argued that Nigeria has made rapid advancements in creating a robust payment system particularly in the area of fostering stability and confidence in the entire banking and payment ecosystem.

“However, ten years after the inauguration of the payment systems vision 20:2020 as a driver for financial inclusion, even with the incursion of fintech and other payment facilitators into the payment equation, a significant number of eligible Nigerians are still outside of the financial system,” he said.

Adeyinka noted that presently about 39 million adults in Nigeria do not have access to the basic financial services that can help them manage cash for daily transactions, invest in opportunities and protect themselves against risks.

“Our aim at this retreat is therefore to evaluate the Nigeria’s payment system developments from inception to date, with a view to determine if the policy has achieved its objectives as well as look ahead into 2018 – 2020, which is the final lap of the implementation and to see areas where there is need for focus,” he added.