Mobile money may be as important in ensuring seamless means of transactions in the urban areas as it may be in including the excluded persons in the rural areas, checks by BusinessDay revealed.
Checks by BusinessDay revealed that the Telco led-financial inclusion model when implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will not only be important in reducing exclusion the rate in the rural areas but will also help to provide a stress-free process of carrying out transactions for the urban populace.
Mattew Olaniyi is a young graduate who recently moved to the busy city of Lagos from Edo State. He was happy to have finally gotten a job with one of the Big Four (accounting firms) in the commercial city of Nigeria.
Working as a graduate trainee in one of the biggest tax advisory firms in Nigeria, the accounting graduate told BusinessDay that he was aware of the stress he would go through every day, considering he travels from the Mainland to work on the Island. But he wasn’t prepared for what came next.
“Almost every day, I have had issues trying to collect my balance (change) each time I give the commercial bus conductors a high denomination of the Naira,” Olaniyi lamented. He added that “the issue of change arises from the fact that most times, the bus conductors or drivers usually, don’t have change as I normally take two N1,000 notes with him when going to work.
According to him, “as a result of the time I spend looking for a change, most of the time I go late to work. Just last week my supervisor asked me to check my late coming.”
“Today, I’m sure I will be late. When I even asked the driver for his account number so I can transfer him the money since we both couldn’t get change, he said he doesn’t have, and the conductor said he doesn’t receive an alert on his phone,” as such Olaniyi was at the mercy of the petty traders at Obalende Bus stop for change.
On the 5th of October 2018, the CBN proposed Payment Service Bank (PSB), a payment service initiative which would allow Telcos to operate in the financial service industry.
This means that Nigeria will no longer operate a bank led-financial inclusion model, an approach that has left 36.6 million of the country’s adult population excluded from having access to financial services.
According to the apex bank, the PSB initiative aims at ensuring access to financial services for the unbanked rural segments of the society, but is not limited to that.
Checks by BusinessDay revealed that similar situation as that of Olaniyi would have been different in its was in Kenya or Ghana as almost every bus or taxi driver has mobile money wallet, and with a shortcode they can receive or send money within a few seconds.
“The rural areas shouldn’t be the only thing that should come to mind whenever mobile money is mentioned,” a Lagos based financial inclusion consultant told BusinessDay on the condition of anonymity.
He added that “the urban populace can benefit even much more. Imagine every woman selling in that market you buy your foodstuffs all have mobile wallets even though they may not have a bank account. Our grandmothers don’t have to know how to read and write to show a customer their mobile wallet number or check to see that money has been transferred to them. When it comes to money matters everyone is educated. This won’t be as complicated as filling deposit and withdrawer slips in the banks,” he explained.
The cashless policy in Nigeria was introduced in 2012 by Gowdin Emefiele’s predecessor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to reduce the amount of physical cash used in business transactions in the economy.
Two years after he suspended the cashless policy, the current CBN governor, Emefiele recently unveiled plans to extend it nationwide.
“We had to wait a while because we felt that there was need to be sure that the rate of financial inclusion in Nigeria has effectively penetrated all the nooks and crannies of the country for us to proceed on cashless banking. Very soon all the structures that have been put in place would improve banking services in Nigeria,” he said.