By Babajide Komolafe
Telecoms service provider, Globacom, has called on the Nigerian Government to allow telecommunications companies to participate in the regulation of the mobile money subsector which is the instrument of the new cashless policy of the country.
Speaking at a seminar in Lagos on “Nigeria Transiting to A Cashless Society: Possibilities and Challenges”, Tunde Kuponiyi, Globacom’s Director, Telebanking Unit said that the current regime of mobile money regulation, which is being bank-driven, is not friendly to telecoms companies who provide the mobile payment platform.
Delivering a paper at the seminar on Monday, Kuponiyi said that though there was a lot that telecoms companies could contribute in a cashless economy, their current mandate was limiting.
Kuponiyi explained that since the mobile payments business is ninety percent dependent on the mobile industry, it was unfair that the mobile networks are prevented from advertising their various mobile payment products which are the foundation on which the bank products operate.
“From the customer’s mobile phone, to the mobile payments system and feedback to the mobile phone, the mobile payment transaction utilizes mostly mobile resources, makes use of mobile time and is supported largely by mobile engineers, but unfortunately the CBN has restricted telecom companies from advertising in the mobile payments space”, Kuponiyi said. He advocated that telecom companies must be allowed to speak about the capabilities of their networks, the quality of user experience and the choice of mobile payment services available on their networks.
He lamented that the passive role to which the telecoms companies have been confined has led to the slow growth of the mobile payment sub sector. “It is now roughly a year since the first mobile money went live and approaching a year since cashless economy came into operation. Meanwhile, none of the individual players can boast of having more than 10,000 active subscribers”, he stated. Kuponiyi concluded that while the regulation supports leadership by banks, he believed that the rules need to be adjusted to create more room for telecoms companies’ involvement so they can do more in support of mobile payments.
“Telecoms companies have large and wide retail networks spanning the farthest reaches of the country that they can make available to scheme operators for mobile money services.