Financial Technology (Fintech) has been recognised globally, not only as a disruptor of the financial services industry, but as a tool to reach the unbanked population and promote financial inclusion in countries like Nigeria where a sizable portion of the adult population are outside the formal financial system.
As Nigeria counts down to the 2020 timeline for achieving 80 percent financial inclusion rate, Fintech 1000+ , the largest Fintech group in Africa gathered together stakeholders to address issues affecting Fintech in Nigeria and deliberate on ways to further the delivery and availability of financial products and services across Nigeria leveraging technology.
Samuel Okojere, Director of Payments Systems Management Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), at the inaugural edition of the Lagos Fintech week on Wednesday, acknowledged the enormous opportunities Fintech companies present in bringing many unbanked Nigerians in contact with financial services.
According to Okojere, FinTech is critical to promoting financial inclusion in the country. Nigeria’s financial inclusion rate has improved from 41.6 percent exclusion rate in 2016 to 36.8 percent in 2018 on the back of fast evolution of Fintech companies in addressing the service need of Nigerians.
Speaking on the bank’s agenda to provide necessary support for the ecosystem, the Director of Payments Systems Management Department said that the apex bank has presented and is awaiting assent of the National Assembly to the Payment System Management Bill.
He further revealed that CBN has taken proactive steps in collaborating with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the regulation of mobile money service and in a bid to avoid inter-agency hiccups has devised means to manage the activities of Telcos providing payment solutions.
‘’ Today we are working on licensing some Telco’s through their 100 percent owned subsidiaries that would be under the purview of the CBN,” he said.
Olanrewaju Osibona, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), in his keynote address said Nigeria has “a huge opportunity to ride on the Fourth Industrial Revolution towards economic diversification and growth, social inclusion, job creation, with resultant efficiency and transparency of process across sectors’’.
As part of initiatives to promote a robust digital economy, Osibona outlined agenda of the government to rollout a Digital Identity and register all Nigerians and legal residents with a digital ID – the National Identity Number (NIN), verifiable from a registered mobile phone number.
Speaking on the challenges facing players in the industry, Oluwatoyin Albert, Group Head Switching and Processing Terminal Services, Xpress Payment Solution Limited, told journalists that the issue of consumer trust can be mitigated through excellent service delivery.
‘’For us at Xpress Payment Solution, we promise an end to end experience, provide a smarter living for our clients and we deliver on our word,’’ Albert said. “The experience determines the trust, and at all times we bring excellent service delivery into focus.”
Xpress Payment Solution is a CBN licensed payment service solution provider and has several other licenses including Payment Terminal Service Provider license, Transaction Switching and Payment license, and Super-Agent license.
The FinTech specializes in the design, implementation and provision of platforms for Electronic Payments, Collections, Bills Payment and Funds Disbursement. Xpress Payment Solution boasts of being ranked 6th out of 21 recognised terminal solution service provider nationwide.
Albert also talked about the dynamics in Nigeria Fintech space which is driven by changes in consumer taste and demand. According to her, innovation remains key to growing in the ecosystem. In line with that “Xpress Payment Solution has a lifestyle platform to enable individuals and household carry out transactions easier.”
Other experts in the industry including the senior manager of financial services department, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Oluwatoyin Adeeko, graced the occasion and weighed in on the discussion.