Experts urge CBN, CeBIH to partner on financial inclusion for incentives
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Committee of E-Business Industry Heads (CeBIH) have been called on to collaborate with other stakeholders in the electronic payment industry.
The call, according to experts has become exigent to develop a framework of incentives that would promote financial inclusion in the country.
Chairman of Secure ID Limited, Adedotun Sulaiman, who led the call in a keynote address delivered at the 2017 annual retreat of CeBIH in Ogun State, said there was need to define a clear cut lines with a view to deepen inclusion.
He said that developing incentives would promote financial inclusion and facilitate increased adoption of digitisation to drive the process.
Represented by the Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Interswitch, Mike Ogbalu, he cited the need for regulators and policy makers to encourage innovation and widespread mobile technologies and their integration with banking infrastructure.
“This has increasingly enabled the delivery of convenient banking services to demographics and locations previously under-served, on the back of increasing access to data and devices by more people in emerging markets”, he said.
He also stressed the need to encourage banks and other large traditional financial service providers to extend their outreach by leveraging third party agents, agent network managers in order to increase their reach among the populace.
Sulaiman challenged financial services sector operators to learn from consumer goods and mobile telecoms firms in order to develop strategies to increase financial service reach and penetration among Nigerians.
“Today in Nigeria, access to mobile telecommunications has reached over 125 million Nigerians and the numbers are still growing. While the telecommunications’ subscription has been phenomenal in terms of reach and penetration, it has regrettably been difficult to translate the successes into financial services reach.
“A significant population of rural and economically-deprived Nigerians remains underserved and financially-excluded. This is largely due to limited financial services access points, which is a function of the huge investment required to build and sustain brick-and-mortar bank branches, as well as the complexities of managing large, country-wide agent networks.
“The financial services sector needs to rapidly absorb very useful insights from the experiences of consumer goods and mobile services industries. These insights lie in understanding consumer needs and staying connected as the needs evolve; and designing products that adequately address those needs and create a customer pull.
“Leveraging and riding on deep, broad, and resilient, third party distribution networks, which are not necessarily part of their owned infrastructure; and effective branding, marketing, promotion and active consumer engagement and education”, he said.
Chairman of CeBIH, Dele Adeyinka, while addressing participants, said that the retreat is in fulfillment of the mandate of the committee, which among other things, is to promote global best practices in the implementation of strategies for electronic banking in Nigeria.
He said the retreat is also to facilitate interaction and exchange of information, ideas and experiences among banks, service providers, regulators and all other stakeholders in the electronic payment space in Nigeria.