Mobile money acceptance and remittance is gradually growing in Nigeria with total transactions in 2012 reaching N228 million and is expected to increase to N151 billion by the end of 2015 according to latest statistics released by the Ministry of Communications Technology.
Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs.Omobola Johnson, said the figures showed that verified mobile money agents currently stand at 3000 and is expected to increase to 50,000 by 2015. The statistics also revealed that while total volume of non-store shopping increased from N62 billion in 2011 to N77.5 billion in 2012, this figure would increase to N658 billion by 2015.
Mobile money has lagged in the country since it was officially introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in November 2011, through the issuance of licences to several companies including banks, electronic financial transaction (EFT) companies and microfinance banks. It has however, not caught the attention of mobile phone subscribers just like the early days of mobile phones.
Mobile money transactions (MMT) target the unbanked community who do not have bank accounts. Mobile money allows its users to remit money to family and friends mainly from urban to rural areas. Out of a population of 167 million people in Nigeria only 26 million Nigerians have bank accounts.
General Manager, Sales and Distribution, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Richard Iweanoge, said in the next two years, mobile money points of service would be as ubiquitous as we currently have points where airtime is sold. It would be as common as the points where you could buy airtime. "At the moment we have seen close to 20,000 people registering on a daily basis for the service.
It is astronomical considering that we just started and also considering that not too many people know about it and understand what it is all about. To get this high number of people registering every day is significant. My view is that people are enthusiastic and they seem to want it and I think in the long run, it will be a success," he said.