New Telegraph

Lack of electricity, internet bane of financial inclusion

Lack of adequate infrastructures such as electricity, Internet service and others have been identified as the factors constituting setbacks to the actualisation of financial inclusion in Nigeria. It was said that over 38 million Nigerian adults remained financially excluded due to low internet penetration. The Chief Executive Officer, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), Branka Mracajac, noted that there was need for both government and private sector to invest in infrastructures to enhance financial services driven by technology. She said the solution to bridge financial exclusion is to provide simple technology accessible by the average Nigerians.

According to her, strategic collaboration among stakeholders is pivotal to delivering the Central Bank of Nigeria’s vision for inclusion and moving the Nigerian economy from cashbased to cashless. “As much as we are a bank focusing on our social objective to close financial exclusion gap in Nigeria, driven by simple and accessible technology, we are also creating innovative solutions in order to offer banking to Fintechs and other players in the market who need the services to provide seamless customer experience.” While commending the Lagos State government for developing technology hub, Mracajac noted that the state manuhas to do more in the development of infrastructures.

“These are critical infrastructures that need urgent intervention for progress to be made. I see Lagos as the technology, and indeed, prosperity hub in the country and as such it must take the lead in infrastructural development. There are enough expertly documented policies in the country, all that is needed now is action,” she said. She emphasised that the bank’s mandate is to help close the financial exclusion gap in Nigeria. “What we are trying to do is make a social impact by providing financial inclusion and literacy for the wellbeing and economic growth of the country. What we bring to the market is a channel that enables access to capital which some of our partners with lending rights can offer to micro and small businesses. We all understand that these kinds of businesses are the bedrock of the economy of Lagos State and other states.

“At 9PSB, we are therefore looking at collaborating with organisations and government institutions that share our passion, that share the same agenda with us to improve the situation for instance, those that are capable of providing loans and grants to support the initiative, to partner us as we provide the knowledge and required tools to achieve this throughout the various clusters around the country. This we believe will bring about the desired improvement and narrow down the financial exclusion gap significantly,” Mracajac added. She commended the Lagos State Government for organising Ehingbeti 2022 Tech Hub Roundup Panel where the experts made suggestions on the way forward. “The Summit was conceived as a platform where local and international leaders in private and public sectors assemble to chart a course for the future development of Lagos State, with the mandate to address the socio-economic development of Lagos State,” she noted.

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