By Babajide Komolafe
COMMITTEE of e-banking Industry Heads (CeBIH) has called for deployment of electronic payments services focused on the lifestyle of the financially excluded people in the country.
CeBIH Chairman, Mr. Tunde Kuponiyi made this call at the just concluded retreat of the group in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
Kuponiyi stressed that e-payment services, especially mobile payments, focused on lifestyle of the financially excluded are critical to achieving the nation’s financial inclusion goal.
He said, “The inclusion service must address what this segment spend money on typically and in short must address their lifestyle”.
Making a case for the use of mobile payments to drive financial inclusion, Kuponiyi, who is also the Head, Cards and e-Banking for Ecobank Nigeria Limited said, “The latest report on BVN suggests that we have a total of twenty million accounts in this system. This clearly is an indication of the banked populace and also emphasizes the need for financial inclusion with its attendant benefits. EFINA reports that Nigeria has over 148 million mobile phone (GSM) subscribers and this makes the mobile platform a veritable way of reaching the unbanked for financial inclusion as a lot more people are on this mobile platform than any other platform.
“The good thing about the mobile phone and in fact any device that has internet connectivity is that it can be used as a payment device and this is what will significantly enhance inclusion not only as store of value but also as a payment platform.
It is imperative as we develop the mobile to enhance inclusion to also look at acceptance of payment from the mobile as the process won’t be concluded till value is really added to the financially excluded that we want included financially”
Speaking further, he said that achieving the nation’s financial inclusion goal of reducing the population of financially excluded to 20 percent of adult population by 2020, requires collaboration among the various stakeholders in the financial services sector.
He said, “The implementation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy requires the collaboration of multiple stakeholders, these include: Providers which are the institutions that provide financial products and services, as well as their partner infrastructure and technology.
“Enablers which are regulators and public institutions responsible for setting regulations and policies on financial inclusion. Supporting institutions which are institutions that enhance and support the CBN’s efforts to achieve the national financial inclusion goals. They include development partners and experts committed to supporting the Nigerian people and government through technical assistance/aid and similar programmes.
“An inclusive financial sector is characterized by the diversity of financial services providers, the level of competition between them, and the legal and regulatory environments that ensure the integrity of the financial sector and access to financial services for all.
“It is critical for regulators and policy makers to create an enabling policy environment to actively promote both the demand for and the supply of financial services to the unbanked and under-banked.”