Experts in the Nigerian payment industry are of the opinion that the success of the financial inclusion drive 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.
This was one of the recommendations made by delegates at the just-concluded third edition of the PoS Innovation Summit held in Lagos, the organisers said in a statement on Tuesday.
The summit, with the theme, ‘Deepening financial inclusion through agency banking’, which was powered by Global Accelerex Limited, a CBN-licensed payment terminal service provider, had in attendance representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria, commercial and microfinance banks, PTSPs, licensed mobile money operators and other stakeholders in the payment industry.
One of the keynote speakers, the Chief Operating Officer, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, MarketMoni, Bank of Industry, Mr. Uzoma Nwagba, stated that GEEP’s N140bn micro-credit scheme, focused on the segments of society with the greatest difficulty in accessing credit like traders, artisans and farmers, would 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 were responsible for the day-to-day engagement of beneficiaries.
While presenting the Facts Behind the Figures, Executive Director, Business Development of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, Mr. Niyi Ajao, disclosed that the volume of PoS transactions had 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 were included in the financial system through the building of a strong network of agents that would 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, CBN, Mrs. Temitope Akin-Fadeyi, reiterated the commitment of the Central Bank of Nigeria towards achieving financial inclusion target of 80 per cent for Nigerian adults by 2020.
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 under-banked in the financial ecosystem, no matter the location, the statement added.
Members of the panel of discussion and representatives of organisations such as Cooperative Societies and the Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria alluded to the fact that Point of Sales terminals remain one of the best channels that could 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,” it added.