Experts Advocate Simplified Solutions for Financial Inclusion

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Obinna Chima

The success of the financial inclusion in Nigeria will be guaranteed through the deployment of simple technologies and processes that align with the realities of the target audience who are mainly at the bottom of the pyramid, experts have said.

This formed part of the recommendations made by delegates at the just concluded third edition of the PoS Innovation Summit held in Lagos.

The summit with the theme: “Deepening Financial Inclusion through Agency Banking,” was organised by Global Accelerex Limited, one of the leading CBN-licenced Payment Terminal Service Provider (PTSP).

It had in attendance representatives from the central bank, commercial and microfinance banks,the Payment Terminal Service Providers (PTSPs), licenced mobile money operators and other stakeholders in the payment industry.

According to a statement, one of the keynote speakers, the Chief Operating Officer, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) MarketMoni, Mr. Uzoma Nwagba, revealed that GEEP’s N140 billion micro credit scheme, focused on the segments of society with the greatest difficulty accessing credit like traders, artisans and farmers, will lead to full integration into the financial system and alleviate challenges of the financially vulnerable.

He added that critical to the programme was the use of agents, that are responsible for the day-to-day engagement of beneficiaries.

Also, the Executive Director, Business Development of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Mr. Niyi Ajao, disclosed that the volume of PoS transactions have recorded significant growth between 2012, when the cashless policy was introduced by the CBN and 2017, when the industry recorded over 146 million volume in transactions.

He further stressed the need to ensure that other parts of the country are included in the financial system through the building of a strong network of agents that will take financial services to the nooks and crannies of the country as 68 per cent of the transactions took place in Lagos alone.

The Head of the Financial Inclusion Secretariat at the CBN, Mrs. Temitope Akin-Fadeyi, reiterated the commitment of the central bank to ensure the financial inclusion of 80 per cent of Nigerian adults by the year 2020.

Also, the Managing Director of Global Accelerex, Mr. Tunde Ogungbade, expressed optimism about the delivery of innovative products and services to the last mile through Agency Banking, and the inclusion of the underbanked in the financial ecosystem, no matter the location.

Members of the panel of discussion and representatives of organisations such as Cooperative Societies and the Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria (AMMAN) alluded to the fact that PoS terminals remained one of the best channels that can be used to provide seamless financial services to the underserved populace.

Practitioners were also encouraged to focus on collaboration in order to provide robust platforms that will serve as one-stop-financial-shops for the users, and increase awareness programs to sensitize the populace on the availability and advantages of simple banking options like agency banking that will lead to more participation and greater financial inclusion.