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‘Why CBN’s financial inclusion drive may not achieve objectives’

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Until payment services were taken from major cities and towns to the unbanked rural dwellers, the financial inclusion drive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may not achieve the set objectives.

Managing Director/CEO of Xpress Payment Solutions Limited, Mr. Oluwadare Owolabi, disclosed this at the 19th annual Digital PayExpo conference and exhibition in Lagos, yesterday.

The indigenous digital payment service providers said it was vigorously driving and deepening financial inclusion by taking financial services to the unbanked, particularly the rural dwellers. Owolabi decried the threats from quack payment service providers, charging CBN, the apex financial regulator in the country, to set up machinery for feedback on the activities of such and devise means of arresting the situation.

The Xpress Payment Solutions boss’ remarks were contained in his presentation entitled ‘Payment Initiatives Driving Digital Financial Services Innovation’ at the three-day event, which brought together digital service providers and stakeholders.

‘Finclusion: Aligning Expectations with the Digital Financial Service Business Case’, theme of the event, was built around key contextual subjects that influence the development of digital financial services. Owolabi noted that in driving or deepening digital payment services in the rural areas, his firm licensed super agents that enabled it to recruit and deploy agents across the nation.

He said the firm was focusing mainly on villages in unbanked areas. “That is what Xpress Payment Solutions is doing. We are available in the rural areas across the country and we are located in those villages.

This has facilitated the growth of the financially included.” He maintained that upscaling the financially excluded would require cooperation from the service providers and regulators, as well as push services to the unbanked locations before the country could achieve the desired objectives.

“The CBN should have a machinery to understand what is going on in the market, drive report to them and see what is happening outside of us. CBN is a regulator and should do more to cover every nook and cranny of the country.”


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