The Head, Financial Inclusion Secretariat (FIS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Temitope Akin Fadeyi, has said that mobile money banking will positively impact financial inclusion, enhance technological activities in the rural areas, increase economic involvement and reduce poverty.
Fadeyi, represented by the Senior Statistician, CBN, George Ogudu, noted this at the second yearly conference of the Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria, AMMAN, held recently in Lagos. She maintained that to grow Mobile Money and Agent (MMA) banking in Nigeria, MMAs should be seen as a cogent channel for financial inclusion.
"The quicker the poor and low income earners are willing to adopt MMA Banking because it is cheap, accessible and secure, the deeper the access to financial services in the rural area and the better the life of people in that income bracket," Fadeyi said.
She urged MMAs to visit the consumer protection service desk of the CBN whenever they are not properly attended to, or harassed by commercial banks and to read the CBN laws meant for MMAs in order to get better service, and know how to improve their businesses.
Speaking, the AMMAN President, Olojo Victor, in his remarks said the conference was a tool to discuss both the challenges and opportunities of the Digital Financial Services (DFS) ecosystem, and teach agents how to drive financial inclusion in their respective spaces.
He maintained that it is AMMAN's goal to become the number one driver of financial inclusion in Nigeria by providing excellent service, and delivering value to Nigeria's financially vulnerable and excluded population.
Olojo said: "This conference confers on us the opportunity to re-evaluate and re-examine our approach so far and most importantly gain new knowledge and insight of the newest trends in the digital finance markets and the many opportunities that are open to agents across the country.
"For us, seeing more unbanked Nigerians access basic financial services and solving their basic financial problems isn't just a money scheme, but a thing of passion and excitement and we are training agents in other to achieve that."
Also speaking at the event, the Academic Director, Lagos Business School (LBS), Olayinka David West, noted that the association will make citizens feel protected, and will help make the goal of enhancing financial inclusion, by giving 80 per cent of Nigerians access to financial services by 2020 a reality.
According to her, the goal of economic benefit for everyone can only be achieved through financial inclusion, and Mobile Money Agents (MMAs) are an integral part of the process.
Olayinka said: "We believe that financial inclusion will close the gender equality gap and empower women, and when you think about the sustainable development goals, gender equality is very critical to financial inclusion. Women are fundamental in the economic building chain and we need to empower them to make sure that those chains can be built."
She continued, "Agents needs liquidity, access to finance and money to start up. There are many youths who are unemployed that can do agent banking but don't have access to finance and these things are what we are trying to push forward because agents are an integral part of the process."
She urged AMMAN to enrol MMAs to be where the markets are, reduce transaction costs, eliminate barriers and improve efficiency and easy remittance of funds.