By Tare Youdeowei
To enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has granted an approval-in-principle, AIP, to INLAKS to operate as a super-agent in the nation’s financial services system.
Following this, INLAKS will work very closely with the CBN and all partners to reach the underserved population, as well as the financially excluded, to ensure that informal workers in Nigeria have access to affordable financial services through its agent network which will address social challenges in key areas such as health insurance, credit accessibility, savings, wage payment etc.
Mr. Femi Adeoti, the MD/CEO of INLAKS while commending the CBN for granting this license, highlighted the fact that the step will deliver numerous gains to the Nigerian economy by enhancing financial access, financial inclusion, sustainability and growth of the small and medium scale enterprises.
“To launch the service, Inlaks will leverage the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, switching infrastructure to enable inter-scheme Cash-In-Cash-Out , CICO, at all its agent locations as approved under the CBN regulatory framework. The Inlaks super-agency platform, therefore, shall be enabled to communicate with all its agents and shall also have visibility of its agents’ transactions through integration with NIBSS according the CBN framework.
“As stated in this framework, super agents in Nigeria shall be responsible for the management and monitoring of the activities of their agents only, and shall not hold electronic money value and would also have information on the volume and value of transactions carried out for each type of service by each agent.” Adeoti stated.
The framework also states that the volume and value of transactions should be made available to the principal to monitor effective compliance with set limits and establish other prudential measures in each case. Measures such as onsite visits will be carried out to ensure that agents operate strictly within the requirements of the law, guidelines and the contract.
Also as part of its efforts to reach the underserved, INLAKS is partnering with the CBN to deploy a unified information technology platform for about 1000 Microfinance Banks (MFBs) in Nigeria. This landmark project which is ongoing will be implemented under the auspices of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB).