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Payment Service Banks are critical to Nigeria’s financial inclusion drive – 9PSB CEO

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The Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, Branka Mracajac has stressed the importance of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in supporting the country’s financial inclusion drive.

According to the CEO, these PSBs offer last mile delivery of financial solutions to the unbanked, under-banked, and underserved who in most cases are neglected due to geographical and infrastructural barriers.

Mracajac made this known at the 2021 Committee of e-Business Industry Heads (CeBIH) retreat, themed, “The Role of Payment Service Banks within the Financial Ecosystem in Nigeria”, which was held recently in Abeokuta, Ogun State. According to her, Nigeria has made considerable progress in developing a strong financial inclusion framework, but a lot still needs to be done in ensuring that the common man is not left out of the financial ecosystem.

“From 2012 we have seen appreciable progress in the country’s financial inclusion implementation journey. No doubt, the licensing of Payment Service Banks is impacting significantly on the inclusion drive. As of today, we are seeing an increase in the numbers of those who are financially included,” said Mracajac.

However, she posits that more than one in 3 Nigerian adults remains completely financially excluded, which is a huge number that needs to be addressed. According to her, 9PSB is committed to providing access to everyone, especially to the neglected and underserved population through its network of agent partners.

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“When people are informed, they make sound and healthy financial judgments that increase their finances. Currently, we conduct mass financial literacy awareness and sensitization campaigns through our agent network, and we intend to do more in this regard,” said Mracajac, pointing out that 9PSB has invested in initiatives that support financial literacy, which is a key success factor in driving financial inclusion.

She equally emphasized the need for collaborations among industry stakeholders to deliver seamless and enhanced financial services that are diverse and address the specific needs of every market segment.

“We recently went into a partnership agreement with Flutterwave to create a seamless payment ecosystem. With the partnership, we are aggregating and simplifying transactions for banking agents, merchants, and consumers; Simply put, they now have a single point of entry to enjoy the various products and services provided by Flutterwave and 9PSB,” said Mracajac.

Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, disclosed that the state government is looking to collaborate with fintech players to ease cash transfer services in the State. She challenged participants at the retreat to come up with solutions that will help support financially excluded Nigerians not just in the state but across the federation.

Responding to Salako-Oyedele, Mracajac highlighted some of 9PSB’s value propositions for states, which includes Social Investment Programmes to support states’ cash transfer initiatives for vulnerable groups, partnering with state governments to strengthen their various financial inclusion initiatives as well as solutions for state revenue collection and disbursement.

The CeBIH retreat is a platform to examine key innovations in the payment industry over the past year and discuss insights and trends for the coming year. This year’s retreat tagged, ‘Innovative Digital Banking’ focused on issues around the growth of digital payments in Nigeria and how technological innovations such as digital currencies, blockchain, 5G network, contactless payments, among others, will dominate the payment industry in the coming years.