‘Nigeria Can Achieve 500,000 Agents Network Target By 2020’

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Emma Okonji

ITEX Integrated Services Limited, a financial technology (fintech) company, has expressed optimism that Nigeria can meet the target of 500,000 agent networks by 2020.

The Executive Chairman of ITEX, Dr. Frederick Igbinedion, said this at a media briefing in Lagos to announce the ITEX Agent Banking Innovation Summit scheduled to hold Thursday in Lagos.

He disclosed that 30 per cent of the target had been achieved.

Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Deposit Money Banks, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), licensed mobile money operators and other stakeholders in giving cognisance to the role of agent banking in the achieving financial inclusion and after a review of progress made in the financial inclusion journey, the financial institutions initiated the creation of Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) with the primary objective of accelerating financial inclusion in Nigeria. The core objective of SANEF was the creation of 250,000 agent points by the end of 2019 and another 250,000 by the end of 2020 making a total of 500,000 agents in two years.

Over the years, there have been concerted efforts by financial institutions and other stakeholders in the industry to bring about a drastic reduction in the number of Nigerian adults who cannot access formal financial services. 

The Managing Director, ITEX, Mr. Ernest Uduje, said the ITEX Agent Banking Innovation Summit was designed for the purpose of developing innovative means to ensure the sustainable growth and spread of agent banking in Nigeria as part of the strategy for achieving the financial inclusion goals. 

“In recognition of the fact that agents are becoming relevant touch points in the financial inclusion space and Point of Sales (PoS) terminals has also become a veritable channel of service delivery by the agents in their various locations, the summit will feature a PoS Innovation Hackathon, which is designed to recognise and reward innovation in the area of providing agency services on PoS channels. The Hackathon exercise ran for 3 weeks and participants were required to submit their innovative ideas on POS solutions.

“A total of 12 qualified and verified entries were submitted, and these are being assessed by a panel of judges who will pick the best three ideas. The three ideas will be unveiled at the summit and rewarded with cash prizes. The best idea will be nurtured and adopted by ITEX in collaboration with the idea owner to advance its POS solutions portfolio,” Uduje said.