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Stakeholders seek review of SANEF strategy

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Victor Olojo

Stakeholders in the agent banking ecosystem have urged Central Bank of Nigeria and Bankers’ committee to review current strategy of shared agents’ network expansion initiative (SANEF) to achieve success of the initiative.

Fasasi Sarafadeen, chairman, Ibadan chapter of Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria (AMMAN), told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that the challenge with shared agents’ network expansion initiative (SANEF) from the onset is about the strategy and the target that is not realistic.

“The target of 500,000 agents within three to four years is not realistic, we need to ask a question, what is the status of current agents that we have? That is active agents. In reality, we don’t have more than 20,000 active agents. If you what us to jump from 20,000 to 500, 000 with four years is not realistic.

“If we want to achieve success in financial inclusion, it is not about setting unrealistic target but activeness of agents that are recruited.

“With digital financial services agents and devices we can reach more places, they don’t need to be 500,000 agents to reach the hither land.

“This target has caused a problem in the system because of the incentive attached to it; we are witnessing cases of 10 agents in a business complex, and are not in the hither land where they are needed.

“SANEF agents are not in the hither land and are not working with the existing agents. It is not about creating new agents it is about empowering the existing agents to perform.

“There is no support to transact at agent locations as at today because we don’t have the infrastructure to process transactions from 500,000. Transactions are routed through NIBSS I don’t think they have the infrastructure to process transactions from 500,000 agents. Today we are having more down time with NIBSS as they are trying to upgrade,” he explained.

Victor Olojo, president, AMMAN, decried none involvement of their association in SANEF initiative which according to him is why agents without scale were recruited in the scheme.

“We think that it is a very laudable idea, but more needs to be done one specific thing we have been asking those spearhead it is that an association like AMMAN should be brought in because we are on the field and understands the dynamics of the operation in rural areas and they are in their board rooms in Victoria Island and Abuja, they don’t know what obtains in the market. We believe that if AMMAN is brought into the system, we will be able to share real time experiences and challenges and see how the objectives can be achieved.

“There is fund attached to SANEF we told the core stakeholders that we as Association knows the agents who are doing well, we know agents that can bring in volume of transaction so they must ensure they carry us along, without that there will continue to be problem in the system.

“Because the banks want to present numbers the say we have agents but are those agents bringing scale or presence? In AMMAN we are bold to say that 90 percent of our agents are doing amazing well,” he said.


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