By Prince Osuagwu
TELECOMS giant, Etisalat, is playing its part to ensure the Federal Government’s programme to reach Nigeria’s unbanked population.
Director, Digital Business, Etisalat Nigeria, Adia Sowho, affirmed the company’s support while making a presentation entitled ‘A Telco’s Perspective on Financial Inclusion’, at the 10th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), which held in Abuja recently.
The conference is the flagship event of the CIBN and provides stakeholders in the financial services sector a platform for knowledge sharing on contemporary issues affecting the sector and the economy as a whole.
Sowho said telecommunication companies in Nigeria have a lot to offer in helping the Nigerian government to achieve some of the set goals of the financial sector especially the attainment of the financial inclusion goals of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to her, Etisalat Nigeria in line with government’s objectives on financial inclusion has developed some innovative products such as Easy wallet and GTEasySavers Account, in partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank, as part of the company’s initiatives to drive the achievement of the financial inclusion goals.
“Etisalat plays a significant role with regards to financial inclusion because of our partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank on the GTEasySavers Account, which has been well embraced by Nigerians. At Etisalat, we are willing to partner with more financial institutions to reach out to the unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria”, she disclosed.
Sowho revealed further that telcos in Nigeria have some customer data advantage that financial institutions in Nigeria can benefit from in order to deepen their penetration, and solicited stronger collaboration among players in both sectors.
“Despite the fact that banking started long before mobile telecommunications, active bank accounts in Nigeria are 61.1 million while active mobile lines are 149 million. From these figures, the Nigerian banking sector obviously has something to learn from the telecommunication companies in order to achieve more inclusion”, she stated.
Etisalat Nigeria recently won the 2016 MobileMoneyExpo Kalahari Financial Inclusion Product of the Year Award for its contribution to the growth of the financial sector of the economy with its mobile money product, GTEasysavers. This product is the joint effort of Etisalat Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank and seeks to improve savings culture and financial inclusion.