By Babajide Komolafe
Mobile telecommunication companies have called for a new mobile money framework that allows them increased role in the delivery of mobile money services.
Meanwhile the World Bank said that the cashless policy needs to be complemented with consumer protection measures and increased enlightenment campaign.
“The existing framework is not exiting for us and we want a framework with significant role for telcos”, said Tunde Kuponiyi, Director, Tele-Banking, Globacom,
He spoke in Lagos on Monday at the forum titled: “Nigeria transiting to a cash-less society: Possibilities and challenges” in Lagos.
Speaking on the on the perspective of telecommunications firms on the cash-less policy, Kuponiyi said that the model adopted by the CBN to drive the mobile money platform is not encouraging telecommunication firms to drive the policy.
He said: “The cash-less model adopted in other climes is being driven by telecommunications firms, but the reverse is the case in Nigeria. Though mobile payment is seen as a Value Added Service, there is a need for a framework to drive greater participation of telecommunication firms in delivering the mobile money product to consumers. Services must be a win-win situation for telcos to fully support the cash-less exercise. Any mobile initiative that does not take consumption of airtime into consideration will not attract telcos”.
Delivering a keynote address at the forum the Senior Payment systems expert, Payment Systems Development group, World Bank, Ceu Pereira, called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to devote more attention to consumer protection initiatives and increase enlightenment campaign on financial literacy to facilitate the implementation of the cash-less policy.
“The influence of consumer protection and competition laws in the payments systems space is still low. The CBN needs to work on its consumer protection measures and make financial education a must, if the cash-less policy would be successful. As much as the activities of agent bankers are necessary to drive the cash-less exercise, they must also be properly checked”, she said.
She however suggested the need to encourage the use of incentives to drive the policy, saying, “The usage of a payment instrument depends on its cost. If price incentives are adopted, the cash-less policy would be fast-tracked, while risk management in cheque payments should also be checked”.
She however commended the apex bank for the recent creation of a Consumer Protection Department at the CBN.
She noted that the cash-less policy has been a very effective tool used by a lot of countries to foster financial inclusion. “More and more, central banks need to be interested in consumer protection and competition issues. I am pleased to hear that the CBN recently created a consumer protection department. Consumer protection really needs to be fundamental in Nigeria if you want to make a positive move to cash-less.
“I will also say that financial education is also very important. The cash-less policy is a very powerful tool to bring millions of people into the financial system,” the World Bank official argued. Pereira also emphasized the need for patience on the part of electronic payment service providers to in the quest for transit the country to cash-less retail payment system.